How do you feel about your grocery budget? Are you consistently over spending each month?
Perhaps it is time to evaluate your budget. If you are just starting to incorporate more real food into your diet, and you’re not sure how you will be able to afford the cost, I hope you can get a better idea from my experience.
Starting a Budget
I started doing research on real food back in January of 2012. While I implemented more real food into my diet in March and April, I didn’t really consider my grocery budget until May, when I was about $300 over. Ignorance is bliss, right?
Could we really afford real food using our Standard American Diet budget?
You see, I thought I would need to expand our grocery budget to afford real food. I mean, that’s why I was over spending…right? But that wasn’t the case. After I sat down and took a good look at our budget, I realized that if I just plan ahead more, we may be able to afford real food while spending the same amount as we did on the SAD (standard American Diet)!
I said, “we may be able” to afford real food at the same price, because we have only been on this budget for one month so far, but we stuck to it this month and I have high hopes for next month!!!
Steps to Create or Evaluate your Real Food Budget
I will show you my budget as an example, but I hope you can apply the principles I used to your own budget.
1. Determine how much money you have for groceries each month. Right now for my husband and I, we have $225/month for groceries. If money is tight for you now, start with a small amount, you just may be able to make it work. I really thought I would need to expand our grocery budget, but realized later that I could make $225/month work.
2. Determine which foods you feel are most important to incorporated into your family’s diet. When I started changing my diet, I added more good fats like raw butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and flax seed oil. Fermented Cod Liver Oil/ Butter Oil Blend is a must in our house.
Maybe determining the ratio of fats:protein:carbs in your diet will help you figure out on what foods to spend most of your money. I try to do 50:20:30, but often times the carbs end up being the higher ratio.
3. Create a meal plan. This will help you determine how much of each type of foods you will need to buy each month. I created a general meal plan for an entire month. For each meal I paired a specific protein with a specific carb, then add whatever vegetable I have on hand. So, now I know how much of each specific meats and carbs I need for the entire month. Exactly the information I need for my budget! You can also find weekly meal plans every Monday here at MAK and my specific meal plan will be posted on July 23!
4. Split your money into four categories: Dairy, Fruits & Vegetables, Meats, and Bulk Items. So, here is where you need to determine how much of each type of food you will eat every month.
Below, is a breakdown of my categories and what I bought in June:
- Dairy ($75)
- Meats ($80)
- 6 lbs. organic whole chicken = $10
- 5 lbs. organic liver and organ meats ($3/lb.) = $15
- 8 lbs. Tilapia Central America farmed ($5/lb.) = $40
- 3 lbs. grassfed, organic hamburger ($5.50/lb.) = $16.50
- Fruits & Vegetables ($45)
- organic onions
- organic potatoes
- organic lettuce
- organic lemons
- organic tomatoes
- organic pears
- organic oranges
- organic grapefruit
- organic celery
- organic carrots
- organic beets
- organic avacados
- 34oz. organic, non-gmo, californian olive oil ($8)
- 17oz. Grade A, blueberry maple syrup ($8)
- 10lb. white sugar, for water kefir ($7)
- Bulk ($25)
- Actually didn’t need anything this month, so I’ll save for next month.
Money saved by finding good deals can be saved to buy items in bulk!
I got a good deal on fish and chicken this month, so I decided to stock up. That way I can save the money next month towards buying beef in bulk, which I can get for $3.50/lb! I understand that some of you have to pay higher prices for the same foods, especially raw dairy, but I hope the principles I listed will help you determine your budget for your own situation.
Tips for saving money when buying real food
I’d liked to leave you with some tips on how to save money while buying real food:
- It is not necessary to buy all organic fruit and vegetables. Look for my post next month to learn which fruits and vegetables you don’t need to buy organic and which one you do!
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a Seafood Watch Brochure which lists the best choices, good alternatives, and what seafoods to avoid. You may have noticed that the tilapia I bought is on the good alternative list.
- Tough times call for compromises. If you cannot afford the best food right now, you’re not a failure. This isn’t a competition; it’s life. Just buy the best you can afford, and thank God for what you can buy. I think we all feel like we could do better with our food choices if we just had a little more money, but more money isn’t the solution. I once heard someone say, “Money talks, but the only word it knows how to say is more.” More faith in God is what we need.
- Buy in bulk and directly from farmers. I went on a farmer’s website recently and saw a note about their prices. It said the prices listed were for the farmer’s markets and that a lower price is available if you buy directly from the farm.
- Eat a higher ratio of vegetables. I’m still working on this one.
- Make your own condiments. I love this recipe for chocolate syrup!
- Plant a garden. You can grow so much in a small space, so no excuses!
- Make your own bread. Try your hand at making your own sourdough starter.
- Know your prices. I searched for awhile to find the best prices for real food in my area. I was able to contact my local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader, who told me of farms in my area to buy good meat and dairy.
How do you save money on healthy foods? What healthy foods are a “must” in your family’s diet?
**This post is entered into Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.**