|Let’s get specific here. I’m going to tell you exactly how I make my budget work with eating healthy. Everyone has a different budget with different numbers of family members. Currently there are three people in this household – Barry, Annie, and me…..and Dottie who THINKS she’s a person. If I tell you how we do it and make it work, hopefully you can make it work for your budget too.I’ll just go ahead and tell you, it was a hard switch to make for me. I was used to paying LOW prices for food…..and now I’m of the opinion that with only very few exceptions, you get what you pay for when it comes to food. I still do struggle at times when I realize how much more good food can cost. In the long run, I’m already finding it is cheaper. Not only do we feel better, but we ARE better in general. Before you disagree, you may want to consider future medical costs, etc. when you look at this type of diet. A Whole Foods diet is proven to lead to better health and it increases immunity levels. That means fewer doctor visits and other medical expenses, and thus more money in your pocket. For me, that actually means a Whole Foods diet is cheaper. While I know it doesn’t guarantee you won’t get sick, I believe it is a HUGE step in the right direction.Okay, now let’s get to the fun stuff.|
|We allot $300 per month for food. This does not include eating out. We call that “entertainment.” This was the same amount we had before our switch to Whole Foods. I had someone ask if this new diet had blown my budget all to thunder, and I answered no. I have not changed the budget. Would I like more money in the food envelope? Heck yeah…..but I also want to pay off the house. That’s our priority right now – and to save to build our dream house with a stinking awesome kitchen and a wrap around porch. We make $300 work. The key to that is a slow change. I didn’t jump right into this. I started the switch in March, so I’ve had several months to phase things in. I’m not sure I could have made $300 work if I started immediately…..because I didn’t have anything. So, as we ran out of something, I replaced it with a healthier alternative. My advice to you is, start slow. Don’t go whole hog at all once or it WILL blow your budget all to thunder.|
|If you look at organic and whole foods prices, you’ll realize that $300 won’t go very far. So, here’s how I’ve made it work. I buy in bulk for most things. I might buy 25 pounds of wheat berries at once. That means I won’t have to buy them for a couple months. I get that cost out of the way this month and that gives me room to buy something else next month. When you buy in bulk, the price is higher, but you buy less often, making it cheaper overall. I buy certain things each month, and I keep tabs on what I’m low on, so that I know what to get next month. List making is your friend. If you try to make $300 work by shopping at an organic store and buying one bottle of this and one bottle of that, chances are that $300 will burn a hole in your pocket lickety split. By the way, I am not referring to Sam’s Club when I speak about buying in bulk. I’m talking about visiting Amish markets and joining co-ops. Sure, there are lots of good things at Sam’s – but there is also a TON of processed stuff. I like Sam’s for white vinegar, but I try not to buy too much other stuff there.|
|I don’t visit the grocery store much anymore. I do go in to get milk and bananas, but I don’t buy much other than that (unless there is a sale on butter!). Where do I shop? Well, I like bulk food stores (Amish stores and local produce markets). You can get items there at a fraction of the cost. The store buys in bulk and repackages it, making the price less for you. The packaging isn’t fancy – it’s just a bag. I’ll take it. Who needs a fancy box anyway?I buy a lot of stuff online. I order from places like Amazon and Tropical Traditions. I get the emails from Tropical Traditions and when they offer free shipping, that’s when I place my orders. You’d be amazed at the great prices on organic food on Amazon. Again, mostly the package sizes are bigger and you’re buying multiples – which drives the price per unit down a bit.I visit my local produce market. I don’t buy 100% organic foods. I would like too, but I can’t make the budget work. Instead, I try to make sure I’m buying local. That gives me comfort. And then I wash my fruits and veggies like crazy. Sometimes you’ll find great deals on local honey and items like that at your produce market. Local honey is great for you if you have seasonal allergies.
I shop at the Farmer’s Market. No, the Farmer’s Market is not cheaper than the grocery store. But, it is all locally grown and you can talk directly to the person who planted it. I like supporting my neighbors. It’s a good idea to get to know your local farmers and create a relationship with them. They’ll treat you right. I like to buy goat cheese, veggies, coffee, fruit, and flowers at mine.
We buy from a local buying club. A buying club is when a group of friends get together and place a large order from certain companies in order to save on shipping costs. It’s along the lines of a co-op. There are co-ops all over the US and they are starting to pop up like crazy! You can get a better deal if you buy as a group…..there is power in numbers. J To see if there is a local buying club near your house, just use Swagbucks and search for one (plus, it’s nice to get paid while you do your online research). When you find a few companies that do bulk orders, call and ask if they have a pick-up close to you. A local one to my area is Bread Beckers and a great one out west is Azure Standard. Ask around at the Farmer’s Market – they’re usually in the know.
So, that’s how I roll. We’re eating good and on $300 a month. I would like to encourage you that you can do it too! Even if your budget is less, I think you can make little changes here and there to make it work for your specific needs.