I feel like I am the last person that should be talking about this. I want to talk about it, but I wanted to wait until I feel like I perfected it. I have tried so MANY ways of grocery shopping and menu planning over the years. It was actually about 2 years ago that I changed a lot of things. I started reading blogs. It opened up my world, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the not-so-good.
I began by reading Crystal's blog, Money Saving Mom. I am thankful for her blog. She has saved me some money and brought great deals to light. I do have to respectfully disagree with her regarding coupons. I do a few coupons, but for the food I buy, there just aren't many coupons. I tried buying and making a coupon folder/binder thing. I spent hours organizing my coupons and my grocery store deals. I just don't do that anymore.
About this time I started reading other blogs, like Passionate Homemaking and Heavenly Homemakers. I read a post from Lindsay regarding their Real Foods Budget and this is how I started doing my shopping. I even wrote to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers and asked her a question, and guess what, she answered it on her blog. You can read that here. I would highly recommend reading her "Getting Real with Food" series as well.
Well, I did what I usually do, I changed everything at once. I also joined a wholesale buying club. All of this while I was about 7 months pregnant with my second child. In retrospect, I shouldn't have joined that buying club because I did not know enough and it was such a process. I have learned a lot since then including backing off a little.
I do not buy everything organic.
Here is what I do:
1. I use real butter. It is rarely organic but it is real, actual, unsalted butter. Organic butter runs $4.99/lb. and I can't quite wrap my head around that right now (probably because I use too much butter).
2. I stopped using white sugar and white flour several months ago. I still use it but only occasionally and usually if I am making food for other people.
3. I read labels on everything. I look to see if it has high fructose corn syrup. I check the country of origin. I check to see what additives and preservatives a food has.
4. I buy grassfed beef from a local farmer. It is about $3/lb. and I order a quarter of a beef at the same time.
5. I do make a lot of stuff from scratch.
6. I do buy in bulk from Sam's or Costco (we are trying Costco this year).
7. I have recently started buying my main groceries at Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's is a 45 minute drive for me, but I have to go to my job 2 days a month so I always have my list ready and I go to Trader Joe's then because I am there anyway. It works for me.
8. I use whole wheat flour and I sometimes soak my baked goods. There is a lot of discussion about soaking your grains and you can go here for more information than you ever wanted to know.
9. I buy organic fruits and veggies as often as possible and try to always buy organic from the dirty dozen list.
10. I buy several items from a local organic dairy including eggs, honey, buttermilk and sometimes milk.
Now, how do I do it and not spend a lot of money? Come back next time and we will talk numbers!
For more frugal ideas, please visit Frugal Friday at Life as a Mom.