Buying and Budgeting for Real Food

Day #6 in the series!  Check out a list of all posts HERE.

Before sharing tips on buying and budgeting for real foods, let me address two myths:

Myth #1  Real food costs more than ready-made foods.  Um no, not always true.  True, organic products are more than generic ones, but real food cooked at home is less than eating out.  I like the New York Times‘ examples!

Myth #2  Real food doesn’t have coupons or deals.  Not true!  With a growing interest for better products, companies are responding with cost-cutting offers on everyday items.

There are ways to save…

My #1 Food Budgeting Tip

We must all make decisions about how we’ll feed our families, and just what aspects of our food (how it’s grown, processed and stored) is important to us.

Here is my #1 budgeting tip for purchasing higher quality food:  PRIORITIZE.  

Decide which foods, and in which order, will receive your top dollars.  For me, the list looks something like this –

  • quality & healthy fats
  • high quality poultry, eggs and fish
  • organic berries and organic dirty dozen produce
  • high quality meat (we don’t eat a lot of pork or beef)

So things like organic rice or condiments aren’t a biggie for me, as well as several other items…unless of course, I find them at clearance or a great sale!

The point is to organize your spending around your priorities for food.  Purchase bulk for items you consider staples, and ones you use over and over again.

Saving on Real Food with Coupons & Deals

There are definitely ways to save BIG by watching for store markdowns and matching those with coupons.

I’ve mentioned this before:  Foods go on sale on rotation, so watch for these and use extra $$ to stock up on staples.  This will take some WORK, but you don’t have to shoulder the load alone!  There are plenty of sites which match up store sales to coupons of the week.

I have used these sites before:

My favorite online spot is probably Amazon.com!

Again, don’t spend oodles of your precious time searching for deals.  Use camelcamelcamel.com, a FREE Amazon price tracker tool!

Make a wish list of food staples, sync it with the camel site, and when the price drops to where you want it, they’ll send you an email.  Serious genius.  Don’t forget to check out Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature (you can unsubscribe when item is shipped).

Other helps for Online Grocery Shopping:

Saving on Real Food withOUT Coupons

There are seasons where coupon matching just isn’t ideal time-wise, or maybe you simply don’t like the whole idea.  There are still many ways to save on real foods.

Costco, Costco, Costco!

I didn’t believe it until we experienced it.  When Zulily had a super deal on a membership, I grabbed it up.  The suspense was getting to me.  Oh. my.  It’s really true — some real foods come by cheaper at Costco.  No coupons necessary.

We purchase things like almond milk, hummus, raw nuts, maple syrup, salad greens and sooo much more for excellent prices.  I’m sold, and I stop by there about 1x a month.  Check out this post to see what another blogger buys.

Natural Food Store

I combine this with my Costco run.  Check to see if you have a local store, usually a small size, who may offer markdowns and deals.

Aldi’s

We have one, but I don’t shop there because it’s not on any route I usually travel.  But, I know many others who save lots at Aldi’s.

Grow Your Own, Farmer’s Markets, CSAs

I’m grateful to live in an area chock-full of farmer’s markets and stands, offering locally grown produce for a fraction of grocery store prices.

If you have the time and space, consider your own garden to cut down on produce costs.  Tap into a CSA in your area, which can be a bargain compared to stores.

Scratch & Dent Stores

Maybe this only applies to certain areas, but we have warehouse-type outlets which offer 2nds from companies.  Maybe the box was smooshed a little, or there was an oversupply.  This is my first stop in replenishing our pantry/freezer supply!

Spend Less in Other Areas

A key strategy of mine as well – to save on toiletries, clothing, and other household needs, and push the budget $$ towards food instead.

 :

Come back tomorrow for a few food storage tips for pantry and freezer…

…and a GIVEAWAY of helpful eBooks, Real Salt, and a meal planner membership!

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Want to share your thoughts? Click here to send me an email.

9 comments

Thank you for your kind mention! Andrea

Debra E

As far as coupons go, if you find a packaged product that you like, e-mail or call the manufacturer for coupons. Tell them how much you like their products and ask if they could send you some coupons. Always make sure to include your name and mailing address in your e-mail though. I do this especially for bacon/meat products that I buy at Whole Foods. And don’t forget to do this often. I try to remember (but usually fail) to e-mail them each month. Or just ask them how often you can contact them for coupons. I find most companies are generous!

Hi Daniele, I’d love to win the Real Food on a Real Budget book. With two in college, both of those topics are high priorities around here. 🙂

Lana

Aldi is well worth checking out. My store is not convenient for me either but I just get in the car and drive there because none of their corn containing products are GMO and they carry organics for great prices. Also products that are convenience foods have very few ingredients and are just much better quality. Shopping Aldi saves us a lot of money every month.

Great advice ladies! Thanks for sharing…

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