Today I want to talk to you about saving money.
If you are really serious about wanting to save money on food, you should definitely be following the 10 easy steps to Paleo Eating. I hope you already are, but if you need convincing, here is why you need to do this :
Salads are a great way to stretch your food budget. Like casseroles, you can make a little protein stretch a long way, but instead of using pasta or potatoes as a filler you're filling up on healthy green vegetables. Try these suggestions for what to put into your salad, make some home-made ready-made salads with these recipes, and here are some recipes for various salad dressings.
Organizing the food you have will save you money because you won't be buying duplicates and you will end up using everything you have rather than forgetting about it. And cooking meals ahead will not only save you time but it will also make it more likely you won't spend money buying something ready made at the last minute. For downloadable freezer record forms, apps to try, and a quick freezer organizing system, check here.
It's a proven fact that people who shop with a list spend far less on groceries then people who don't. And this is hardly surprising considering that each time you set foot in a grocery store you are bombarded with very sophisticated advertising aimed solely at getting into your wallet. For some downloadable shopping list forms and apps for your phone, check here.
By planning your meals ahead of time you will again be less likely to buy something at the last minute. You will also be able to take advantage of sale prices and this alone can save you up to 50% of what you would normally pay. For ideas on how to plan your menus and some downloadable forms check here.
Of course you need to have somewhere to keep the food you buy ahead of time, and a system to make sure you rotate it and use it. It's not saving you any money if you forget you have it. For ideas how and where you can set up your own storage, and an easy system to get you quickly filling it, check here.
Supermarkets, though very convenient, are also often the most expensive places to buy your food. They have rent and salaries to pay and profits to make for their shareholders. Your local farmer or farmer's market is much more likely to give you a better price, as well as be a lot more grateful for your business. For more alternative source ideas to try, check here.
This is probably one of those obvious things that nobody really thinks about, but when you buy vegetables and fruit in season you are buying them at the cheapest price because they are more than likely locally grown and you're not paying the transportation cost. Not to mention that food in season always tastes so much better. Think about those plastic tasting winter tomatoes. Need I say more?
Knowing where everything is and having a cheerful place in which to work will make it a lot more likely that you will cook more, and if you cook more you will save more. If tackling your kitchen seems too overwhelming try my Easy 2 Hour Kitchen Organizing Plan.
Look at the price of those tiny packages of herbs that they sell at the supermarket. They cost a fortune and are often half bad to boot. Follow these 3 easy steps to your First Paleo Garden and you will never have to pay those prices again. With a fresh pot of herbs available to you year round you will reap all the benefits - both health-wise and financial.
Following these steps alone should save you a lot of money, and here are a few other things worth remembering as well.
Eat more Eggs
Having eggs for dinner is a great way to get a lot of great nutrition for a little money. Eggs have to be the best value for money these days. Even organic free-range eggs are only a few dollars a dozen.
Having "breakfast for dinner" might seem like a strange idea but if you really think about it, it does make sense. After all, how often do you have time for a big breakfast during the week? Why not have it at dinner instead and save money while you'd doing it?
I have given you lots of great recipes already ( omelettes of all kinds, Quiche with various fillings, scrambled eggs with salmon, ham and other leftover protein, Eggs Benedict, Egg salad, and French Toast or Pancakes with bacon or sausages ) and in future posts I will be giving you more.
Eat more Stir-Frys
Stir-frys are terrific ways to stretch a little protein a long way. When you only have a serving or two of meat, chicken or seafood and need to feed a whole family, a stir-fry is the perfect answer. You can serve it with cauliflower rice to create a perfectly Paleo as well as perfectly healthy and perfectly economical meal.
Serve more Ethnic Dishes
Not only do these give you variety, they also are usually very low cost. My Cioppino (Seafood Stew ) and Chicken Cacciatorie as well as my Pasta Meat Sauce are all wonderful economical Italian dishes. Coconut Crust Pizza and Eggplant Pizza, though not really Italian, are also a great way to feed a crowd for less. And frugal Frenchwomen have been feeding their families Coq au Vin and Beef Burgundy for centuries. Finally, fishing villages around the world have stretched their household budget by serving Seafood Cakes and their own particular version of this recipe, whether they called it Coq St Jacques, fisherman's pie, or seafood casserole.
Use your Slow Cooker more frequently
If you don't have one yet you are really missing out. (Read my post here.) A slow cooker not only allows you to use cheaper cuts of meat and poultry, it also saves you time - a double bonus. And many of the ethnic dishes mentioned above are made in a slow cooker. For more slow cooker recipes check One-Pot Crock Pot Chicken Dinner, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Bean-less Beef Chilli, and Good Enough for Company Pot Roast.
Grow a garden
If you have the time and the space, growing a home garden can save you tons of money and also ensure that you feed your family food that you know has come from a safe source. Once you've mastered growing herbs, growing vegetables is the next step. Soon I will be starting a series to show how to grow your first vegetable garden in 10 easy steps. Meanwhile check the posts here for inspiration.
Preserve your own food
Once you are growing your own garden, picking your produce and preserving it for future use is the next step. Even if you don't grow it yourself, you can buy vegetables and fruits in bulk in season. I have already shown you some of the things you can do with Lavender and Rosemary, as well as how to freeze herbs for later use. In the following weeks look for posts on preserving vegetables and fruits.
Over they years I've fed a large family on a tiny budget and everyone ate well .... including all the extra mouths that seemed to appear at every meal. My home was always open to my children's friends, and they were always welcome to join us for meals. (You don't know what stretching a food budget means until you've fed a gang of hungry teenage boys!) It might have been very tight sometimes but we always had good food, good company, and good times. And, in the end, isn't that what life is all about?