Do You NEED to Cut the Grocery Budget?

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Thank you all for adding suggestions and sharing your various circumstances in my last Real Food Grocery Budget post, Very Limited Income for Real Food Purchases. I think it’s great that we’re all helping each other think of new ideas for saving money on good food.

What I’d like to address now is that while I think it’s great to learn ways to cut down on food costs when you’re going through tough financial situations, I also feel like it is very important to make sure our families are getting the nutrition they need. Again, we are investing in our bodies when we spend money to eat whole, real food. Some foods we can cut back on, but there are some things we really, really need to be eating so that we can stay healthy.

That’s why I had such a hard time sharing what I’d cut back on or cut out of our diets. I have a hard time recommending that many people NEED to cut down their grocery budget. If you’re spending money on processed foods or splurging all the time on specialty items and buying food that isn’t in season or buying stuff to eat that will simply fill a hole but not offer any nourishment…then we need to talk about ways for you to cut your grocery budget.

But if you have $X amount in your grocery budget and you’re carefully spending that amount on real, whole foods that are nourishing your family…I think you should keep doing what you’re doing. Sure, let’s keep trying to find fair prices and good deals and shop wisely so as to be good stewards of what God has given us to take care of our families. But if you have the money for plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables or any of the high quality healthy foods you feel convicted about eating…buy them for your family. Don’t cut out necessary nutrition just so that you can say that you’ve lowered your grocery bill.

In addition – and I’m guessing that I probably don’t really need to be saying this to any of you but I’m going to say it anyway – before you talk about needing to cut your Real Foods Grocery Budget, please make sure you’ve cut every other un-necessary item out of your budget first. My family has always done without cable TV and expensive cell phone plans and frequent eating out and going to movies and expensive clothing and all kinds of other things I can’t think of because we don’t spend money (or rarely spend money) on them so I probably don’t know what I’m missing.  I’m NOT saying that you shouldn’t ever have or do these things. If you have cable TV, I’m fine with that and will probably even enjoy watching the Food Network with you when I come for a visit. I’m just saying that you really shouldn’t complain about not being able to “afford” real, whole food…and then turn around and fill your grocery cart with frozen pizza, soda, twinkies and chips, 24 new pairs of high heeled shoes and a big screen TV for your bathroom.  Kapeesh?

My point ultimately is that we all need to be as careful as possible with how we spend our money…but I think that spending money on good, whole food for our families is wise and even necessary. It’s an investment in our health for today and for years down the road. Good food costs money…but I think we need to caution ourselves against feeling like, “ugh, healthy food is SOOOOO expensive.”  Is it…really? I don’t look at it that way anymore. I look at healthy food as…healthy. And the price that comes with it?

Well…I’d rather not pay the price of eating cheap, empty food. To me…that is what is costly.
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Off and on all week I’ve said that I would share about some creative ways our family saves, earns and comes up with great sources for food. I’ve sprinkled some of that information throughout these posts, but really and truly I have a whole post devoted to sharing ways to stretch and grow your grocery budget. Other topics keep popping up this week as I’ve written this series, but I promise (probably, mostly for sure, I think) that I’ll post tomorrow about stretching the budget. And sometime soon…I’ll even post about stretching a chicken.
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What are your thoughts about the “cost” of nutrition-void food?

Comments

  1. shorty says

    I love this series and love how God provides for each of us in a unique way. We are a family of 5, all boys but me:) 15, 9 and 4 who eats more than the 9yr old! We have been trying to cut out all processed food, corn syrup and eat as many things from local farms as possible all the while doing this with the measly budget of $350 a month. That breaks down to $87.50 a week. We eat very little meat because we like to get local grassfed only which is $5lb. We get lots of fresh eggs at $3 a dozen and milk as fresh as we can find right now from Bruams:) I make everything from scratch but I do have to use regular flour bought in bulk. With just the basics and all our household needs (toilet paper, toothpaste, dish soap, etc) we don’t get a whole lot. How is it that we ALWAYS have enough and the family thinks I am an amazing cook? God provides. I don’t know how it happens every paycheck but it does. The vision we have for ourselves is still something we strive for but we also know we can only do our very best with what we have. Thank you for sharing so much with us. I am so excited to keep on this journey of healthy living on the budget we have in the moment!

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  2. Jessica says

    Hello-

    I could use some advice from you ladies please:

    The farmers market in my town is extremely small (4 trucks- one sells HaB items) so I really didn’t have any luck finding much there this summer. I have been looking on craigslist for people selling stuff and can’t seem to find any.

    I am thinking about posting a WANTED add trying to find someone wanted to sell. What do you thing? Am I asking for trouble doing this?

    Thanks!

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    Camille Reply:

    Keep looking and asking! Try Meet Up as well to see if there are any like minded groups in yuor area. I think a well worded ad on Craigslist would be fine. I’ve never had any problems with CL, but I’m careful. Our “farmers market” has about 1 stall with actual FOOD at it. :-) You are not alone!

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    Aimee Reply:

    Our town is the same way…we struggled for awhile until we found a co-op
    of local organic produce from farmers. Maybe there is something like that
    around you?

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    Kris Reply:

    Have you looked for a CSA farm (community supported agriculture)? If you’re not familiar with it, the way it works is you pay for a share and then get a share of all the produce they grow. They usually have a specific pick up day. I live in the north, so our CSA’s only operate in the summer. I don’t know about the rest of the country. If you do a search for CSA and your city or count name you might find some info. Also the Cooperative Extension office for your county would know about them.

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    Jessica Reply:

    Thank you so much! I was able to find a site that not only listed CSA’s
    but also listed farms that sell fresh meat. Thank you thank you thank you.

    For others looking, this site seems to be national and I found it highly healful:

    http://www.localharvest.org/

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  3. says

    very good post, and I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Recently, I had a visitor and they made some rather smug remarks about some items in my pantry. Saying quite loudly, well wait until you have 6 kids to feed, then you won’t be able to afford xyz. Maybe….I don’t know know. For now, though, I try to feed the whole family healthy, because I know it is keeping us healthy. (Yes, we do eat fast food sometimes and we do have a soda now and then…..yikes!)

    NOw, if I could recommend anything I would say make the healthy changes slowly then maybe it won’t be a big blow to your budget.

    Change to brown rice instead of white. Use butter instead of margarine (then change to organic butter).

    Make friends with gardeners (they usually love to share the fruits of their labor!! and if you make a jam, chutney, relish with their goods and give it back to them …they are tickled pink!)

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  4. says

    Love this post! I’ve been toying around with the idea of increasing my grocery budget so I have more wiggle room.

    I am wondering about milk. I notice a lot of people buying a lot of milk. My kids drink it, but I limit their intake. I figure water is just as good and a lot cheaper. Is there health reason to encourage drinking milk over water?

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    Diane Reply:

    We limit milk as well as I think in general the kids don’t get enough water and they get their calcium requirements met
    through other healthy foods, I think it is a preference issue.

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    Penny Reply:

    I’m not a complete expert in this area of milk, but from the research I have done about paterized milk…you might as well be drinking water for the “nutritional” benefit you get from it. The way to go is raw milk. However, I did read the other week that if you can’t afford it or can’t find a farmer to sell it in your state to buy organic milk and culture it (kefir, buttermilk, etc. I would love to hear anyone else’s opinion about this as well….

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    Penny Reply:

    paterized = pasteurized

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    Lori Reply:

    I read that raw whole milk is best, but if you are unable to get that, skim milk is the next best option.This is because the homogenization process alters how the fat is assimilated into the body. The raw milk is supposed to be best because pasteurization gets rid of beneficial bacteria as well as bad bacteria. We get raw milk from a very clean, reliable source, and have never had a problem. We make kefir with it at a fraction of the cost for kefir in the stores. Good stuff!
    Other than a preference to milk in certain situations, and the health benefits of yogurt and kefir (probiotics), we stick to water!

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    Amanda R Reply:

    We cannot get raw milk in our area. However, we buy VAT pasteurized
    non homogenized grass fed organic milk and yogurt from a store that
    sells milk from the nearby Mennonite farms. That area also has a
    Mennonite bulk foods store that sells homemade butter. VAT
    pasteurization is less harmful to the milk than normal
    pasteurization.

    Stephanie Reply:

    Homogenized, pasteurized milk is really not good for you. Research the effects of homogenization and pasteurization on the milk and our bodies! Raw milk is better for you. Soy milk is not a good substitute. Most of the soy used is poor quality, and it can have serous adverse effects.

    When our kids want choc milk, we do choc AlmondMilk or slightly watered down Kirkland Protein drink (Cost Co). Have you considered Pure Silk AlmondMilk? Mild flavor, 50% more calcium, and very nutritious. Great to drink and great in cereal. But to cook, use oat milk as Almond milk will not thicken or “set.” Almondmilk can be curdled with vinegar if you need an acidic milk though.

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    Carmen Reply:

    Camille, I am with you. I limit the milk consumption.

    The kids get it at school with lunch and often with breakfast and then it is water for the rest of the day. I don’t see milk as a bad thing, but kind of an unnecessary thing.

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    Teresa Reply:

    We go through a ton of milk, good or bad I love it and we make it
    a priority in the food budget. (10-12 gallons a week) I also run a
    certified home day care and am required to serve it for breakfast and
    lunch. We live in a VERY sparsly populated area and are lucky to
    have a grocery store within an hours drive so regular store milk
    is all we have available. In myexperience milk consumption seems
    to be a “how you were raised” type of thing. I have friends that
    never drink it because they never did as a child. Personally we
    lived in the country and couldn’t drink the tap water and it was
    easier to buy milk by the gallon than in was to buy water 25 years ago.

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  5. says

    Great post, love your perspective on the grocery budget issue. As a nutritionist (by degree) and a homemaker (by career) I feel very strongly about feeding my family well. We don’t have health insurance at this time, so I consider the higher cost of eating nutritious foods as our insurance premium. :) We have a relatively small grocery budget for a family of five, but God always provides what we need in this area.

    Thanks for a great series, and I’m looking forward to the rest of your posts on this topic!

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  6. Monika says

    Unless the diet recommendations have changed since I was at school in the 90’s, kids (as well as adults) are supposed to get at least a pint of milk each day, to get enough calcium. However, all milk products count, so if they eat cheese, yoghurt etc they don’t need to drink all that milk. On the other hand, if a kid has a poor appetite, drinking milk is a way to get some nutrients in them easily.

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  7. says

    Great post! You’re absolutely right.
    I’ve found that if I stick to basic and nutritious whole foods, I spend way less money than if I get processed convenience stuff. When I go to the grocery store, half my cart is taken up by fruits. But they are used to feed my family! Those are the basic expenses we have no matter what, just like housing, clothing and medical care.

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  8. Hezzie says

    I know that on the weeks I menu plan and check and double check our meals and pantry that I spend less and feed my family better. It’s the weeks that I get a little lazy that I’m running out for “just one thing” and come home with another $30 of food that if I had planned well I could have spent $15 the first time around!

    I can’t cut our grocery budget by much, maybe 5%- but I can plan and budget to get the best, healthiest meals out of what we have.

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  9. Shawna Cale says

    People always assume eating healthy means more money. When I started feeding my family real food, I had a hard time the first month finding anything to buy at the grocery store. My first few times I just wondered up and down the isles looking at everything and seeing that they all had ingredients I didn’t need. I came home with little food and little cost and made meals from scratch that I knew how to make as a child. Then I found heavenlyhomemakers and found Azure standard and they have really opened up my eyes to wonderful food. My food budget before eating whole foods and now is the same. Just the quality of food and recipes have changed. The other complaint I always hear is “it takes to long to cook healthy”. My response “it takes less time to cook from scratch then to get in the car, go down to Wal-Mart, buy something, come home, unload, cook and eat.

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    Jen@Dear Mommy Brain... Reply:

    I agree that there is a common misconception that scratch cooking is overly difficult and time consuming. Admittedly, it does require more advance planning, however, I can still complete a from scratch meal in about 30 minutes on a weeknight. After getting home from work.

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  10. Kelly says

    I am loving this series. There are blogs and websites all over the internet that make me feel guilty for spending money at the grocery store. As silly as it sounds, I needed to hear that its ok to spend a little money to give my family a healthy diet. I agree with the above comments about menu planning. We are a military family and moved last month. Those first few trips to the store to restock my pantry are always a little more costly than usual and the menu planning goes out the window during a move. This past week I got back on the menu plan band wagon and it makes a HUGE difference in both the number of trips to and the amount I spend at the grocery store.

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  11. Lori says

    You are so right on in this article about budgeting for important things like healthy food over other things like cable, designer clothing, etc.! Nothing wrong with that stuff in itself, but priorities need to be examined carefully! I have found several things helpful in keeping the food bill down while choosing healthier options. One is to buy frozen vegetables if necessary when fresh options are slim…especially in winter when the fresh stuff has been sitting around a while. Also, when possible I try to get organic options, but if not, I don’t sweat it. Eating lots of veggies is still better than not eating many, but holding out for fresh organic options! When I do find a good price on organic produce, I try to stock up and freeze extra. For instance, last week I found organic bananas for 19cents a pound that were on the edge…I bought them up, and froze them immediately. Yummy smoothies! I just love your blog, and read it every day! Thanks so much for all you do!

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    Hezzie Reply:

    Did the same with Bananas not too long ago. (Big bag of “freezer nanners” for muffins and bread) 10lbs for $1.99! I’ll be checking that shelf at the market more often.

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  12. says

    Love these post on eating healthy! I have learned so much from you. We got 2 chickens last year, just for the eggs, and plan on getting 6 more this spring. They will give me enough eggs for my sisters family of 6 and for my family of 2. Hopefully I’ll have enough to sell a few dozen a week to people at work. I have done the math and I save around $50 a year for having my own organic cage free eggs. That comparing the price on non organic cage free eggs at the grocery store. I feed them all the left over scraps from the fruits and veggies. Their manure is great for the garden as well. Love my Chickens~!

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  13. Adrienne says

    Thanks for the new giveaway – my favorite flexiband is the simple silver one!

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    Adrienne Reply:

    Sorry – still figuring out how to do this whole computer/internet thing!

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  14. Wendy says

    A way to cut down on veggies during the winter is to start a winter garden inside your home. Grow some leaf lettuce, grow some herbs and peppers. Here in the suburbs we don’t have the opportunities of fresh eggs and buying half a cow. Organic meat is verrrry expensive.

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  15. Teresa says

    I am also loving this series…my sister and other friends always make comments to me about how they cannot afford to eat healthy organic foods,i try to explain to them that meijer has a great selection of organic foods at a pretty good cost.When i go to the store I only buy whats on sale for the wk,other than fruit because we have to have that no matter what,I also stock up on certain items when they r on sale…we also have a store called sunspot,which is a natural store,and I have a 20% off card for thursdays…we also have an amish store out in the country that sells things that we use at a cheaper cost…all u can do is ur best…

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  16. says

    I have really enjoyed reading this week’s posts…I have often thought about the different ways I can reduce the cost while feeding my family. My husband always says that there is nothing to eat but this cuts down on snacking…I instead keep foods whole until it’s time to cook them. I also really looking at what others are cooking to give me inspiration as to what I can make with what I have on hand. I need to begin meal planning and then ordering my bulk to what I am cooking.

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    Kelly Reply:

    Your comment about keeping foods whole reminded me of what I read recently in a biography on Martha Stewart. Her daughter lamented that when she was growing up she never had “food” in the house, only “ingredients”! My house is the same way, now, but I’ve learned to keep some of Laura’s yummy breads or pretzels on hand for snacks!

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  17. Teresa says

    You can freeze bananas?

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    Danielle Reply:

    Yup, you can! Simply peel the banana, slice it up, put the slices in a bag or tupperware, pop in the freezer and you’re done! These are the best thing EVER for smoothies…and if you want a “special” treat, simply throw a frozen banana in the food processor and watch as it turns into banana soft serve “ice cream”! Seriously, it’s just a banana but it tastes EXACTLY like soft serve ice cream! Such a great treat for kids without any junky ingredients or unhealthy sugars. You can also add in things to make it even more fun (flavored extracts, chopped nuts, coconut, chocolate, etc.)

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    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    You can also freeze them in their skins if you are going to use them for banana bread or baking–it helps prevent freezer burn. Just defrost them on the counter, use a scissors to cut off the end and it all slides right out and they are perfectly mushy for baking!!

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    Kelly Reply:

    Or even mash them and put them in a freezer container/baggie ready for use in muffins/bread!

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  18. says

    Here are somethings we do to save money so that we can spend more on real food.

    We cut cable a few months ago & switched to the cheapest internet provider we could find. We use Netflix, and not to sound like a commercial, but we can access tons of tv shows and movies for just a few dollars a month. You can also go to the network site of the show you want to watch and watch there as well.

    My husband and I ask for movie gift certificates for Christmas if someone wants to give us something.

    We only eat out on Fridays. I know it’s not healthy, but we have Little Caesars. $5 a pizza. Other than that we don’t eat out.

    We don’t buy new clothes unless it is on clearance and we can get the item for just a few dollars. I have 4 boys and we kept all the clothes from my oldest. All the younger boys get hand-me-downs. I have one girl and any time someone asks if we want their hand-me-downs, we say “Yes!”

    We have a pool in the backyard, but we have quit maintaining it and using it b/c the water and chemicals are too expensive.

    My husband owned his own business but had to shut down b/c the construction industry has tanked. We were paying out the nose for health insurance. His health insurance from his job kicks in in a month. We will be paying a fraction of the cost.

    We have cut back on driving to save on gas. Running all the errands at once helps too.

    We were sad about this one, but we have cut all extracurricular activities for the kids.

    Danielle, we do the banana “ice cream” too :)

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    Julia Reply:

    Your post sounds so much like what I would say. My husband had a landscape business that went south with the economy so I know all about the health insurance thing. Sounds like you have made smart decisions for your family though. And despite the guilt I receive from friends/family when we opt our kids out of activities, they (the kids) are doing just fine. Remind yourself that God always has a plan and that whatever activities (or lack of) they may experience will work well in His plan.

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    Wendy Reply:

    You know you sounded like me back in the early 80’s. My husband was laid off and I was 4 months pregnant. But believe it or not you will grow and learn from this experience. In 20 years you will look back and it will make you a better person. Believe me, hand me downs isn’t a bad thing. Things will get better. I will tell you one thing you will be frugal for the rest of your life because you know what it’s like to be without. Good luck and God Bless.

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    Lisa Reply:

    Thanks, Julia and Wendy :) I am clinging to Jeremiah 29:11 these days.

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  19. Kimberlee says

    I have to remind myself often that buying wholesome food is an investment in health, thereby saving money in the “health costs” category of the budget. Besides, I would much rather buy and consume fruits and veggies than some gnasty tasting medicine. We invest in a LOT of things, some good and some bad, but I think it is high time we make some investments in our health…starting with wholesome food.

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  20. Ann says

    Testament to healthy eating–when the nurse started my IV for the birth of my baby, she commented on how good my vein was. She said that I must eat very healthy to have such nice veins!

    Also, my husband commented the other day that spending more on healthier foods is one way that we “treat” ourselves.

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  21. andrea says

    Very well-said. Preventing health problems is so much easier than trying to fix them after you have them. I think the true costs of our average American diet are beginning to show up in the amount of overweight/diabetes we are seeing in children. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing heart disease happen at younger ages too. I think the post was written very well—I know too many people who try to cut their grocery costs down to a really unreasonable number. It made me rethink my “guilt” when i spend more for brown rice when I could be buying the cheaper white, etc. Thanks for writing this.

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  22. says

    Since I’ve switched to real food, I believe that I actually spend LESS. Yes, there are always coupons and sales on prepackaged foods that can make them really cheap, but many times the raw ingredients to make a scratch version is still cheaper. And I know that I’m eating REAL food. That’s worth it.

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  23. darialauren says

    A wonderful post!
    And for all those who toy with whether it is better to save money and not buy foods that are better for you vs. spend more and buy foods that are really healthy–just remember our first priority is to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God[which is] your reasonable service” and “…that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
    And if we do this then God promises in Matthew 6 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat ? or, What shall we drink or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
    For after all these things do the Gentiles seek :) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
    So just do your best to take care of the body God gave you and be wise with your money and we will glorify God– the most important thing! :) hope this helps!

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    Katherine Reply:

    Darialauren, Thank you!
    I used to buy cheap “food” with coupons and “pride” myself on buying a lot of so-called “food” at a cheap price
    I started to not have peace about it, and the Lord showed me that I wasn’t trusting Him to take care of us. Now, I just eat what I feel God would want us to eat (as close to how He created it), and try not to worry about it. Our food budget is very modest, and we ALWAYS have more than enough. Plus, I love buying food from Azure Standard (we save a lot of money) because I am supporting a Christian family business. That feels good!

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  24. says

    I’m finding myself going in the opposite direction, where my grocery budget is slowly inching up. A little over a year ago it was $100 a week for our family of five, and we ate out 3-5 times a WEEK! Then we redid our budget, got serious about getting out of debt, and my grocery budget got cut in half-to $50 a week. That’s when I started learning how to cook and bake, and the past year I’ve started realizing how important the food we eat is for our health. In the past few months my grocery budget has also been bumped up to $70 a week, as more debt has gotten paid off.

    I’ve recently started transitioning us to a whole foods/organic diet, and have discussed with my husband that after our next debt snowball is paid off (hopefully in February), I’d like to see our grocery budget brought back up to $100 a week/$400 a month. That extra $30 a week will go towards local meat, more organic produce, organic baking staples etc.

    Eating whole foods/organic is more expensive than eating what we used to (I can no longer shop at Aldi, and now instead have to shop at Meijer), but I totally agree that it’s worth it!

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  25. says

    I hate that the “free” (after coupons) items are always the over-processed convenience foods. I feel like a lot of families are just consuming garbage because that is all they think they can afford. We live below the poverty level but I refuse to give in to those items.

    I also get confused when someone will pay $4 for a one pound bag of chips and yet say they have no money for produce. Most would not be willing to pay $4/lb for meat. Why the chips?

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    Jessica Reply:

    Great Points!!!!!

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    jenfor Reply:

    Completely agree with your post!! I hate the thought that those who have very little think they can’t do anything else. Maybe they can’t but I hate that the “junk food” industries targets that.

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    blair Reply:

    my friend and i came across this at the store once: a very overweght child, 8 or 9 years old, was walking around eating from a HUGE family sized bag of potatoe chips. we passed each other next to the banana table. the kid asked his dad for a banana,which was 39c a pound. the dad started yelling that they couldnt afford a banana! We were in shock. my friend bought some bananas and went and found the kid in the store and took the chips put them in the dads basket and gave the bananas and reciept to the kid. then she told the dad that 6 bananas cost less than a buck and a half and he should be ashamed.

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  26. trisha says

    Posts like these always make me remember a story about a family who complained they couldn’t afford to eat healthy. The show followed them around a grocery store. Past the fresh fruit/veggies they went. Oh, a sale on soda pop, awesome. Then the ding dongs, twinkies, chips and other processed snack food filled the cart (some of which really isn’t that cheap). The problem was they filled the cart up with all the bad stuff up first and then had no money left over to get the good stuff.

    I love to see posts of ways to acquire healthy foods without spending a fortune! Sometimes I find alternatives to the more expensive stuff, sometimes I just bite the bullet and get them anyway, sometimes I find a different source for getting them. Now that’s what I like to see!

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  27. says

    I actually spend less money now that we’re eating healthy! (Which is good, since our budget has shrunk considerably!). I used to buy all kinds of junk food – now that I’m not buying any of that and just doing basics – we definitely get more value for the dollar!
    Another way we’re saving is that we haven’t been to the doctor (besides for a well baby visit) in months! That is awesome for us – we used to ‘need’ an antibiotic on a fairly regular basis. We take immune boosters every day (Vit D, C, briar rose, and a probiotic) along with eating better and wow, what a difference! My husband is also off his expensive allergy medicine!

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    bakingmama Reply:

    The medical savings can be HUGE when you eat REAL food instead of junk. We seldom have need to see a Dr. and no one is on Rx meds. Laura, I’ve never seen you mention this, but do you give your family supplements of any kind? We are drinking raw milk now which should give us even more nutrients, and my husband argues that if we invest more $ in quality food, we should need fewer supplements. I think we should at least take D during the wintertime with so little sunshine. What do you think?

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    bakingmama Reply:

    I meant to add that vitamin supplements can get REALLY pricey if you are picky about getting them from “natural” sources. It would save a lot of money to not have need for them if you can get what you need from food alone, but I wonder if we can …

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  28. Julia says

    I have loved this week’s posts. Thank you for them. I think the biggest key (and I write this to remind myself before I sit to make the dreaded grocery list) is if your budget can’t take a big change try something smaller for now. Baby steps!

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  29. Teresa says

    what is a good price for raw honey from a bee farmer? i think they said $30 per gal…does that seem like a good price?

    [Reply]

    Penny Reply:

    I have paid $6 for a pint of raw honey from the farmer’s market. There are 8 pints in a gallon…so $30 for a gallon seems reasonable. Is it local?

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    $30 is what Azure charges per gallon–so I would think that is a fair price–I have seen is for as low as $27 but as high as $35. Our local beekeeper said a good way to tell of honey is raw is that it should solidify within 3-4 months after buying it. you can freeze it without hurting too many enzymes to keep it liquid, but if you want the raw benefits dont heat it.

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  30. Brittany says

    Since switching to real food, our food budget did go up some. But God has been so faithful to provide. I’m a neurotic meal-planner/grocery-list-maker and I don’t know how many times I’ve come across a random sale on something that was already on my list. Or found a stellar coupon for a non-food item like dental floss or toilet paper right when we needed it. God has continued to provide for our needs–including real food.

    One of my goals this year is to review our food purchases and menus and see if I can come up with ways to save money without reducing the quality of our food. Figuring out how much each meal costs and making the cheaper meals more often, looking for cheaper sources, making some items that we’re currently purchasing, etc.

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  31. says

    I agree that it is worth investing in what you eat. Even though, as I posted the other day, we are a family of 4 living on $50 a week there are certain things we don’t compromise on. My husband and I feel very convicted about some of the changes we have made and so we keep to those, maybe just in moderation.

    One thing we stick to is grass fed beef. Sometimes we get some from his aunt (her boyfriends owns a farm and if there’s leftover meat from processing that wasn’t purchased, sometimes they split it with us). Often times we buy ground beef from the State of Oklahoma Department of Corrections — they raise primarily grass fed beef for use in the prison system and sell their overage for 2.25/lb (much cheaper than the $4-5/lb at our local stores). It’s a perk for my husband working for the state and we definitely take them up on it :)

    The other thing we are careful about is HFCS in our bread. I realize it shouldn’t ideally be in anything, but bread is the place where we most consume it and we felt was the best place to start eliminating it from our diet.

    Does anyone have any advice on places to find good coupons for gluten free convenience food? I try to keep a small amount on hand for our son on busy days.

    [Reply]

    blair Reply:

    where do u live in oklahoma?

    [Reply]

    Brianah Reply:

    We living in the Tulsa area…are you in Oklahoma as well?

    [Reply]

  32. says

    laura,

    thank you so much for this post and for this series on healthy eating. i can’t tell you how timely this is for me, as i have been feeling for some time now that i need to make some changes in our eating. i have cut out hfcs for quite some time now, but am seeing the need to cut out some other things as well…mainly processed foods, especially when i can’t pronounce most of the ingredients..yikes! i couldn’t agree with you more about the importance of buying healthy whole foods for our family, and i have to agree that really, it doesn’t have to cost more than buying the packaged foods. quite honestly, i was at the store the other day and was considering buying chips….to my surprise (and disgust) the chips cost more per pound than the grapes. i think we just have to meal plan, make a grocery list and stick with it. i love your site!!!

    patty

    [Reply]

    blair Reply:

    i think the reason people think they are getting a better deal with say potatoe chips vs grapes is because they look at the volume of the food they are getting and think they are getting way more food for their money, because one pound of grapes looks like a lot less than 1 lb of chips. really if u want chips that badly buy a potatoe and make some? but then again, from my experience in my family growing up.. my mom dad and brothers, they are too lazy to actually wash, cut and fry a potatoe and then they say it doesnt taste as good. lol

    [Reply]

  33. says

    We have been working hard to eat less processed foods. I am learning to make more food “from scratch.” I have been able to do this without raising our grocery budget. I shop smarter (sales, coupons) and use my “pantry” as often as I can. I always menu plan for the entire month. We live 30+ minutes from any grocery store, so there’s no running out to get anything!

    But where I have a problem is this: the insistence on organic food. I personally feel like organic food is a “fad” and I refuse to jump on that “bandwagon.” I don’t feel like I am a bad person for not eating organic, although many comments would suggest otherwise.

    Bottom line, I think it’s possible to eat healthy without spending absurd amounts of money on organic foods, some of which are controversial.

    Many people literally do not have any extra money to spend on groceries. After paying the bills, people may not have $500 left for food. We happen to enjoy being able to put any of our extra money into savings at the end of the month so we can be homeowners someday!

    [Reply]

  34. Teresa says

    The honey is from an amish farmer about an hr and a half away,i googled trying to find someone local,or atleast close to me,that sold raw honey…I try to find the best price before i actually purchase something,unless i am totally out of something. What about maple syrup? where is the best place you have found at the best price? Honey and maple syrup is pretty pricey at sunspot but i do buy it because i know its better for us,but i would like to find somewhere somewhat cheaper…i tried signing in to azure standard and it says this not an active account,i have never ordered from them though.

    [Reply]

  35. says

    Great post. I think we do forget sometimes that food is an investment and that it has value, so it’s okay to spend money on it. From a strictly financial perspective, food seems like a bad investment because it’s consumable and holds no monetary value. However, when you consider a more whole perspective, it is something we should spend money on and that we truly do get a lot of (non-monetary) value from. I’ve recently taken some steps in the direction of spending more for better food (because previously I made bread/snacks from scratch which are almost always cheaper than any type of produce/meat/dairy), but I do have a long way to go. That said, there are things that are financially more important to our family than quality, healthy food – such as me staying home with our future children, some charitable/church giving, etc. I think there is a balance in how to prioritize those needs, and it may be different for each family. It’s also sometimes really tough to make those choices and to know just where to draw the lines. Really thinking about your priorities helps to make those decisions.

    [Reply]

    Jessica Reply:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have been doing some serious thinking
    after reading this series. I have been trying to identify what I want
    my real or whole diet to look like. Each person is unique and has unique
    values and goals. I think it is important for everyone to figure out what
    matters to them and where they want to spend their money.

    I think we can all agree that non-organic veggies are better than no veggies.
    Same with fruit and dairy.

    Thanks for your post.

    [Reply]

  36. says

    Great words! My mother balked at how much I paid for 2 whole, organic, grass-fed chickens ($14.99 was a good deal in my book, haha) but she does not seem to think that spending the same amount on chips and cookies and candy bars is a bigger waste than my healthy chickens.

    [Reply]

    blair Reply:

    my dad is this very same way! He goes to the store with us sometimes, and about falls over dead when he thinks he is spending less for more. he will buy meals like tamales from a can, chili in a can, cheap store brand cheese, and fritos.. to make a casserole. which is like… $7. for two meals, one person. thats outrageous to me. especcially when i can make Lauras cheesy beef and rice casserole, with brown rice, and healthier ingredients for less than $3.50 per person!! and that includes at least one veggie as a side! plus, there will be ingredients left over like the rice, and sour cream.. i could probably make 2 of these casseroles for barely over what he pays for 2.. and dont even get me started on his comments on me paying $20 for organic apples. Im not saying evveryone should buy organic. but for us, it works, because organic fuji apples are my husbands favorite, and we get 20lbs of them, which lasts our family of 4… THREE weeks, for $21. barely over $1 a pound.. i cant get non-organic fuji apples anywhere for that!!

    [Reply]

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