Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at The Fruitful Home about Saving Money at Walt Disney World, and I’m excited to welcome Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents to The Catholic Couponer:
Hi, my name is Stacy and I blog over at Stacy Makes Cents. I am a frugal living blogger and I write about how to live and eat healthy on a budget, how to live debt free…and how to have fun being a mom. I am a former coupon queen and I used to do local coupon workshops on almost every weekend. Now my video is available for free online, but I no longer offer these workshops – now I limit myself to workshops on living frugally. Why? Because I don’t use coupons anymore.
These days, I save money by buying in bulk and in season. Today, I’m here to debunk a HUGE myth: in order to eat healthy, you have to spend a lot of money.
Our family of 3 (4th member to arrive this September) lives on a grocery budget of $300 per month. I live in a rural area of Virginia, so I don’t have access to lots of big city “green” stores, but I am able to make this budget work and eat a mainly whole foods diet (meaning, we eat foods as close as we can to the way they were created – without additives). I say “mainly” because while we do eat a “healthy” diet, we also live by the 80/20 Principle.
Here is how our family eats high quality, nutritious food for only $300 per month:
- 1. I buy in bulk. In my coupon years, I might buy 3-4 one pound bags of rice to store. These days, I purchase 25 pounds of rice at one time. It’s not uncommon for me to get 15 pounds of oats all at once. For most things, when you purchase in bulk, you’ll get a better deal…it even lets me afford organic foods on a regular basis.
I am a member of a local food co-op so that’s how I get a lot of things in bulk (check to see if Azure Standard is available to your area. I also visit Amish stores to get the same perks. And you might want to check out Amazon for awesome deals on large purchases.
If you’re wondering how I store all this food, check out my post on Long Term Food Storage.
2. I buy “in season” and freeze for later. I was raised on a farm, so this trait is in my blood. When something is in season, I like to buy a lot of it and preserve it for later. For you, this might take a change in how you think. Don’t buy 1 pound of green beans when they’re in season, buy 15-20 and bring them home to preserve! If you’re going to aim for this money saving venture, you’ll also need to purchase a chest freezer – make sure to look around and find a used one!
Almost any food can be frozen or canned. For example, I freeze strawberries (http://www.stacymakescents.com/freezing-strawberries) and I can peaches.
3. I buy ingredients instead of finished products. When you think about being more healthy and then you head to the grocery store, you’ll quickly get sticker shock. Those organic products are sky high!
-Instead of buying chicken broth, buy a whole chicken and make the broth yourself.
-Instead of buying granola bars, buy oats in bulk and make your own.
-Instead of buying yogurt, make your own. It’s SO easy!
You might think all these things are too time consuming, but they’re really not. All they take is a bit of advance planning – that’s it.
So, are you ready to get started? I hope I’ve given you a bit to get you up and running! If you ever have any questions, you just give me a holler and I’ll do whatever I can to help!
Stacy is a stay-at-home mom to her first child, Annie (2.5), with a second one on the way. After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with her daily antics.