Saving Money on Groceries

Our family tries to buy everything organic, which can be pricey.  Here are some things we’re doing to try and save money. 

  • We buy local produce that is in season.  Swiss chard is at its peak right now here, and it is delicious prepared via quick boil (which removes the bitterness but keeps the nutrients), then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pepper.  My whole bunch (organic) was about $1.50.
  • We shop our neighborhood’s farmers’ market every weekend.  It usually has seasonal produce from local farmers, and a lot of it is organic.  And it is very inexpensive of course… and kind of interesting to meet the farmers who grew it.  There is a good chance you have a farmers’ market in your area, as they are becoming very popular.
  • We don’t make elaborate recipes that call for 20+ ingredients.  I tend to not use the remainder of some of the ingredients when I do that.
  • We make more frequent trips to the store (2-3 times per week), which results in buying what we really need, which results in fewer items going bad (or just sitting there unused).  Plus I can’t fit too many bags in my stroller/bike trailer, so I have to make frequent trips. 
  • We buy frozen vegetables instead of fresh (unless something is in season).  They still taste great if you steam them, and they retain their nutritional value even when frozen.
  • I shop our local grocery store whenever possible (because it sells organics and it is cheap), but every couple weeks I drive to Whole Foods to shop the bulk aisle.  This stuff is amazingly cheap, and a lot of it is really easy to prepare.  Here is some of what we get: cereal (oatmeal, cheerios, etc.), couscous, popcorn, lentils (can add to anything), garbanzo beans (to make our own hummus which is so inexpensive to do), other beans (navy, black, kidney, pinto for soups), brown rice, whole grains (millet, whole wheat, etc. for baking), prepared trail mixes (for hiking), etc.
  • Along the lines of buying seasonal – Wild Copper River Salmon (which some say is among the richest in Omega-3’s) is in season right now.  The sockeye (red) is in season now until mid-August, and the coho (silver) is in season from about mid-August to late September.  I saw it on sale at our local grocer this morning for $10/lb.  That is pretty good for fresh wild salmon!  And it is so good!
  • And as for meat and poultry, we eat mostly chicken.  Organic chicken breast around here is $8/lb.  I try and cook a whole organic chicken (cheaper than just the breast) once a week, and use the scraps to make chicken stock (have you see how expensive organic chicken stock is?!?!?).  Also, once in a while I buy organic chicken things, which are a lot cheaper than the breast.  The thighs do have more fat, but that comes with more iron and other nutrients.  Make sure you buy the things with the bone in and skin on – no need to pay the grocery store to take off the skin, as it peels right off.  So, peel the skin off, cut any remaining fat off, leave the bone in to add flavor and bake or grill them with homemade BBQ sauce – easy and delicious.
  • This one is a little over the top, but we shop a really fun local organic farm that allows you to pick some of the stuff yourself.  I cut my own basil this week and a HUGE bag of it was $1.75.  If you are interested in this, I would try and do an internet seach on a “pick your own farm”.  That is what they call themselves.
  • Lastly I try and buy whole foods when possible then make/chop/prepare everything myself.  For example, the cutup fruit in the produce dept is a LOT more expensive than buying it yourself then cutting it.  And granola bars are kind of expensive, but they are pretty easy to make yourself.   This of course takes more time, but our goal is to save money!

That’s all I can think of right now.

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