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We’re a family of 6 with a grocery budget of about $600 a month. We eat mostly organic foods, pastured based meats, traditional foods, etc. I’ve been asked how we do it. It’s work, but it is possible. Always compare prices and make sure that buying in bulk is actually saving you money. Bulk isn’t always cheaper but 90% of the time it is.
Look online for a local farmer, then ask if they give discounted rates if you buy a quarter or half of an animal.
We found a local farmer that raises pastured based beef and pork. We bought 1/4 side of beef at $6 per pound, and 1/2 of a pig for $4 per pound. It was a steal and should last us 9-12 months. We buy soy-free pastured whole chickens from a farmer a couple states over for $3.99 per lb. Even canned tuna can be bought in bulk. Our goal is to buy great quality meat, and eat less to make those food dollars go further.
Grains, Legumes, and Nuts:
Buy grains and legumes in 25lb or 50lb bags. Whole grains and legumes store well in sealed containers for years. Buying these items in bulk can save you up to 50%. We use a lot of rice so why not buy 50lbs. of organic rice when it makes the cost of organic rice half the price? Grains and legumes we buy in bulk are: brown rice, buckwheat, popping corn, millet, pinto beans, and black beans to name a few. We store them in 5 gallon buckets with gamma seal lids. Nuts and seeds can often be bought in 5lb packages for a steep discount. Nuts and seeds tend to go rancid quickly so keep these in the freezer if you won’t be using them within 3 months. Nut flours namely almond flour can be bought in 25lb boxes for literally half the price, store it in your freezer to keep it fresh. Grind these bulk grains and make your own gluten-free flours to save a bundle. Before we got a grain mill, we ground grain in our vitamix.
Check your local health food stores and ask them if they give case discounts, most do. Whole Foods gives a 10% discount on case purchases and my local health food store sells bulk items for whole sale price plus 20% which is much cheaper than paying full price for the item.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Dairy:
These are your perishable items, but they can also be bought in bulk and stored for later use. We buy pastured butter by the case from Whole Foods (15lbs is a case), and get a 10% discount. We know we’ll use it, and a case generally last us about 3 months if I’m not doing heavy baking. Butter stores well in the freezer. A local farmer to us sells raw cheeses in various sizes. If you purchase them by the 5lb block he gives you a discount. Cheese can be frozen if you can’t use it right away.
Fruits and vegetables can be bought not only in bulk from local stores for a discount or while on sale, but also the farmer’s market where most farmers will give you a deep discount if you buy them out. Preserve those fruits and vegetables by freezing, canning, or dehydrating for using later on throughout the year. 2 years ago Whole Foods had a great sale on organic apples for .99lb. I bought a whole case (55lbs) and dehydrated and canned them for use in the winter and spring, I was upset that I only bought one case. A year ago our local health food store was having a killer sell on organic pears, .99lb. I bought 40lbs and canned and dehydrated them for later use. We often visit pick your own farms to stock up on large quantities of fruits.
Sweeteners like sucanat can be bought in 25lb or 50lb bags at a much lower rate than the 2lb packages. We buy honey in 6 gallon buckets from a local bee keeper for a steal of $160. We buy 2 gallons of olive oil from Chaffin Family Orchards when they are running their annual sale, we purchase coconut oil in 1 gallon buckets from Nutiva or Tropical Traditions when they are running sales and free shipping. Render your own tallow or lard from the animals you bought in bulk.
Eating well on a budget can be done. It does take work as you need to compare prices and shop around to make sure your getting the best deal. We also make almost everything from scratch which is a big money saver in itself. Do what you can to eat healthy on the budget and resources GOD has given you. And as with all things, Give Thanks.
We also volunteer every week as a family at our local health food store which in return gives us 10% off all of our purchases. We stock shelves, dust, vacuum, clean potties, etc. Ask your local stores if they offer a similar program. Amazon is a great resource for buying many items in bulk.
Amazon.com (affiliate link, thank you for supporting SimpleFoody)
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