Creating a food budget can be quite the challenge. Each family is unique, has unique eating habits, different resources and skills, and where we live will play a big part in our food budgets as well. Rather than take this post as the ultimate guide to build a Real Food Budget, let’s think of it more as a springboard to get us off on a good start.
Know what you’re spending! Knowing what we currently spend is helpful in creating a realistic budget! If you shop with Azure Standard you can go back into your account, online, and view all your past orders and print them off so you can plan your monthly food budget accordingly.
Go to the store less! Research shows that people who make small, frequent, shopping trips tend to spend more than those that go to the store less often. Shopping once or twice a month will typically save you more money.
Create a Menu! Making a menu can keep us from dining out, making impulsive shopping decisions, and save fuel! If you want help creating a menu, I would encourage you to visit our friend, Carrie Vitt, over at Deliciously Organic. She has a variety of menu plans she provides for those of us that feel challenged for creative ideas or to find the time. Even if you only use her menu plans for a short time, they will get you started in the right direction.
Shop what’s in season! Buying what’s in season can not only save us money, but offers us health benefits as well. I use to tell my children, “There’s a reason God provides so many eggs in the Summer. We need that extra protein for all the work we’re doing.” Try to create menu plans that include ingredients that are in season. Looking at your local University extension office can help you find a chart for your geographical location. The link that was listed at my state extension was no longer available. I do have a produce chart from Azure posted on our Facebook page (just in case you ever misplace this blog post or link). It can be very helpful for you to know when produce will most likely be available.
Buy Bulk when possible! I say this with caution. Always check prices! There are times that I can buy 5, ten pound bags of potatoes cheaper than I can buy one 50 pound bag. I’ve asked Azure about this in the past and been told that situations like this do happen due to a product being from a different supplier or a sale that Azure was able to take advantage of and pass the savings to us. For the most part, buying bulk will save us money.
Buy food as close to nature as possible! This not only offers us tremendous healthy benefits, but money saving options as well. Take for example the Oat Groats. I can buy 25 pounds of Organic Oat Groats for 20.40. Once I roll these Oat Groats I get 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats from each 1 cup of Oat Groats. Therefore, this 25lb bag of oat groats will actually give me 189 cups of rolled oats at .11 cents per cup. Compared to the 126cups you would get from a 25lb bag of rolled oats at .16 cents per cup.
Make it from Scratch! I will be the first to say that sometimes I need to save money and sometimes I need to save time. My “time budget” is just as important as my food budget. However, whenever possible, our family cooks from scratch! This saves us money, but more valuable than that is the nutrition that cooking from scratch can offer.
Grow it yourself! We can’t skip this very important step when creating our food budget! Growing our own food will provide us with the seasonal benefits of food, the satisfaction of knowing exactly what kind of care was taken to produce our food, and save us a great sum of money! Keep in mind if you’re not an experienced gardner, start small. If you take on more than you are capable of handling you could lose your entire crop and actual cost yourself more money that what you would have spent buying it. We love growing and raising as much of our own food as possible!
Those are just a few ideas I have to offer for your consideration when creating a Real Food Budget. Do you have more you could add? I would love to hear from you!
Until our next chat…
Mrs. Joseph Wood