Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is It Possible To Eat Healthy While Maintaining A Limited Food Budget?

This is the question that I have been asking myself a lot lately.  While living in upstate NY, we had settled into a grocery routine and had bulk food shopping down to a science.  However, since moving to Texas in September and living in a city, I became lax in my pursuit of bulk food shopping and have made many more trips to the grocery store and health food store just because it is conveniently located in the same town  and not far from my house.  Our food budget is $600 a month for a family of seven.  I still make most things from scratch and have some favorite blogs that I get my recipes from and even get a menu mailed to me each month from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Stolen Moments.  She also has a blog at Stolen Moments Cooking.  That being said, I have been encouraged to look for places to order in bulk and save money.

This morning when I woke up, I decided to write out a spread sheet of all the food we regularly purchase, how much we go through in a year, and how much everything cost.  The next thing that I did was to brake it down by the month.  I divided that number by 12.  Finally, I broke it down even further and divided that number by 4 giving me the total for the week.  When it was all done, I was amazed that I had still had around $100 extra each month that I could spend.  Wow!!!  I encourage you, too, to do the math and see where your money is going and how far you can stretch it.

Here is a break down of what I did:

  • Nuts- $59 a month
  • Meat- $141 a month
  • eggs- $48 a month
  • Dairy- $80 a month
  • Bulk food order from Azure Standard- $175
         Total Spending = $503 a month

Recently I discovered that Azure Standard has a delivery stop in my town.  Boy, did I ever rejoice when I found out!  My nuts come from Braga Organic Farms in California.  This is a family owned business.  I order the nuts and dried fruit in bulk, get a 10% discount from Heavenly Homemakers, and only pay $10 in shipping.  This morning, I ordered 100 pounds of nuts and dried fruit and payed $708 with shipping.  Also, a friend recently told me about a nearby farmer who sells beef, pork, chicken, eggs, lamb, and goat.  His animals are grass-fed and are well taken care of with no hormones and plenty of sunshine.  His farm is in Lubbock, but he delivers all over Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado.  He has a delivery stop here in town each month.  The name of his place is Paidom.  His egg prices are between $3.50 to $4 a dozen.  Plus with all the other meats he sells our order with him will average around $1700 a year.  We plan on buying 3 dozen eggs a week, 24 chickens, half a cow, and half a pig.  Our bulk food order will come from Azure Standard and will cost around $175 a month in the beginning and then average out to around $100-$125 a month.  Our dairy will either come from Braums Ice Cream and Dairy or from a private farmer (hopefully this will be the case).  Vegetables will come from our back yard.  I also plan on ordering my herbs in bulk from Bulk Herb Store and this is a place that I highly encourage you to visit soon if you have not already.  The service is superior and the product is beyond amazing.  The shipping is fast and the herbs are super fresh!  Plus if you order from my side button, I get store credit.  All the more reason to order from them.  Olive Nations is also a great place to order things like olive oil, vanilla beans, and such.  If you order through Heavenly Homemaker you can get 10% of your total order and shipping is always free.

This year we also plan on having our own garden.  A friend recently loaned me The All New Square Foot Gardening.  I will be using this method of gardening while using Heirloom seeds.  Hopefully my garden will grow well and we will be able to harvest quite a bit of vegetables from it this year.  This will be my first garden ever and I am very excited about it.

So to answer the question about eating healthy while maintaing a limited budget- YES it is possible.  Just  look around and ask others.  Eventually, you, too will be finding lots of places where you can save money and eat healthy foods.  Before I found Azure Standard, I shopped a lot at Natural Grocers.  Their sales prices are amazing.  I still plan on shopping there.  In addition, there are farmers markets in the summer.  Last of all, there is Swag bucks (points that you get just for searching the internet that translate into gift cards or prizes) that you can use to purchase groceries and other things at Amazon.  If you sign up for their subscribe and save program, you can save 15% more.  Plus you can save 15% more if you sign up for Amazon Moms.  How do you save on your grocery budget while eating healthy?

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