My monthly grocery list is mainly produce. It is the best way to get the majority of nutrition that our bodies need. But converting to the a whole food diet (we are still not 100% whole food, but we are getting closer!) means buying organic and local when possible. And everyone knows how costly that can be. So below are my tips on how to get good quality produce without busting the bank.
- Meal Plan - Now I can not stress this one enough. You don't have to plan monthly like I do or even weekly, but before you go to the store make sure you WRITE down what you are buying and have a plan for it. I use a calendar template from HERE and fill it out for each day. One thing I love about this template is you can right click and insert a hyperlink for the recipe you want to use. Big time saver to have the recipe right there!
- Coupons- Everyone probably knows by now that I am no longer a coupon fan. The majority of coupons are for processed foods or ones full of preservatives. With that said you can find coupons for produce or organic/natural foods, but they are far and few between. The best way to find them is to either go to a specific product website or use a coupon database (like the one found HERE) and search by brand. It can be tedious, but well worth it if you can save money on high value organic/natural foods.
- Farmers Market/Produce Stand - This is my favorite way to buy produce. You all may remember we have a year round farmers market here and while I love it, but right now I am taking advantage of going to the farm. If we are out and I see a farm or roadside stand we stop. Many times you can get great deals (especially if they are overripe). Overripe veggies and fruit work great for sauces, salsas, jams, pie filling, and broths. Another plus is everytime we go to the local places they give the kids a little extra. Usually fruit, but the kids love it and so do I! One more quick note about using local is that you never know what you will learn. We went to a farm this past weekend to pick some strawberries and while I was talking to the farmer learning about his growing methods we got on the topic of natural grass fed meat. Since he has been doing this his whole life he knew all the farmers who practiced these methods and is now helping us get into contact with these farmers so we can buy local meat.
- Make Your Own - Many items you can make yourself. Broths are very easy to make by using leftover veggies, bones, carcasses, etc. Just stick them in the freezer until you are ready to make your broth. Jams, jellies, salsas, and sauces can be made and canned. Buying these veggies when they are at their peak and their prices are rock bottom will save you lots of money by the end of the year. Also you can make your own seasoning blends. Why pay money for taco seasoning, ranch mix, or onion soup mix when you probably already have the items to make the mix without any additives. And yes natural items can be expensive. For example, natural peanut butter is pricey so instead of buying natural peanut butter (which can contain extras like salt and/or palm oil) buy a bag of natural peanuts and make your own peanut butter. There are endless ways to save here. Check out my Recipes Page for other recipes to help you save.
- Cleaning Supplies - This is probably one of my favorite ways to save money. I haven't bought any cleaners (just supplies to make my own) in at least six months. I have spent around $30 total for everything I need. Check out my Homemade Cleaners Page to get started on how you can do this. My top three are the ones I use the most often and have been incredibly happy with. My very favorite is the Homemade Laundry Soap, it is simple to make and I still haven't used all of it up. I probably have enough to last at least another 3 months (and that is with giving some away!). My second favorite is the Surface Cleaner. It smells fantastic and works great! I use it everywhere including the bathroom. I just love it! And my third favorite is the Dishwasher Detergent. I have made two batches of this already and have been pleasantly surprised at how well it works. It is wonderful to know exactly what is in my cleaners and very satisfying to make your own.
How bout you? What do you do to save money while maintaining a healthy diet? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with everyone? Leave a comment and share with us!