Don't throw money away on cheaper quality foods for some perceived convenience. You can eat the freshest, healthiest foods available and save money at the same time. Here are my top five ways to cut back on the food budget.
- Eat at home. Cut restaurants out of your budget entirely. You can make healthier, less expensive food at home. Cut out the morning coffee drive-thru. That can add up to $40-$60 a month! That's money you can put towards paying off your debts or into savings.
- Cook from scratch. That may sound scary to some at first, but it's really not. You don't even need a cook book. You can find a lot of good recipes at RecipeZaar.com for free. Prepackaged and convenience foods are hardly convenient when you consider the cost to both your wallet and your health. YouTube.com has some decent videos demonstrating cooking techniques.
- Source local foods. The food at your grocery store has huge built in expenses- shipping, warehousing, packaging, store overhead, etc. Instead, join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Shop at local farmer's markets. Both will give you more food for less money. Check out LocalHarvest.com to see what's in your area. Also, ask the folks at CSAs and farmer's markets if they know anyone who sells items they don't have.
- Grow an edible garden. If you have a balcony, porch, or a small patch of earth available, plant something you can eat. If you don't have a lot of sun, you can still grow leafy greens. For small spaces, there are books dedicated to container gardening. If you have more space, consider putting in a few berry bushes and fruit trees.
- Try bulk/wholesale stores. For the things that you cannot find locally or produce yourself, check out bulk and wholesale stores. You will have to pay a membership fee, but it will more than pay for itself. Our wholesale club has wide selection of hormone-free meats at half the price of the grocery store. Not to mention all the non-food items (tires, propane, water filters, etc.) on which you can save.
The more money you can save on your grocery bill, the more money you will have for things like debt reduction, savings, investing in land, hand-powered tools, garden supplies, how-to and DIY books, non-electric kitchen appliances, and so on. Insist on the best food possible, and keep more of your money in the process.
Live better, a little every day.