Food costs have and continue to rise- and I’m over here talking about how you can SAVE on food… so you might be wondering, eating healthy on a budget sounds Kris, but how does this spending less on groceries (while still eating really well) work in real life??
Here is exactly what we do (and eat!) to spend only $600 a month on groceries for our family of four (reminder just because this number works for us, doesn’t mean it’s the right number for you- click here for the replay of a live I did on how to create your ideal grocery budget):
But first… here are some things we DON’T do:
- Use coupons
- Obsessively shop sales
- Eat lots of processed foods, OR…
- Cook 100% of our meals from scratch
- Skip out on fresh veggies
- Eat lots of pasta, rice and beans because it’s cheap (we eat all of these things- just not all the time)
Here is what we DO:
1. We plan our meals– and we just plan for five days. Just planning for five days allows us flexibility to move things around if need be, say YES to a night with friends, grab takeout if we really want to, and use leftovers if we have lots of food in the fridge (my meal plan system is simple and takes me about 15 minutes a week for my plan and grocery list).
2. We do a monthly stock-up at the beginning of the month (based on meals/ingredients we use often) in bulk- so we can get the best prices on the things we use more often and then…
3. We ‘shop’ our fridge, freezer and pantry BEFORE we meal plan. I’m intentional about using what’s in our fridge, first as well as what we have in our pantry and freezer (this is why we do our stock-up!).
4. We don’t let our leftovers go to waste. If we have leftovers, we do one of three things:
1) Eat them for lunches
2) Freeze them for later
3) Have a leftovers night (we typically do this once a week– and often times they’re repurposed so my family has no idea they’re eating leftovers!).
… VERY little goes to waste in our house! Which brings me to…
5. We’re overall intentional about avoiding food waste. By not over-planning and only buying what we need, we rarely waste food- but when we DO end up with food that we’re not going to use (let’s face it, we’re human!), we freeze it, make broth or repurpose it in the next week’s meals.
6. When I plan, I use similar ingredients within meals (so I’m not buying a HUGE variety during the week– there is variety, of course– but there is lots of variety throughout the month instead of day to day). To be clear, we always buy at least five different veggies at the store each week– so we’re getting LOTS of that goodness in!
7. We cook once, eat twice nearly every week— this goes for proteins (the most expensive part of our shopping). We’ll make a whole chicken or a roast and use it in more than one meal- which saves us money AND time.
8. My grocery list is strategic– when I go to the store, I shop in one section at a time and avoid going back and forth throughout the store (statistically, the longer we spend in a store, the more money we spend!).
9. My mindset is NOT about eating cheap or choosing the least expensive option. It’s about being INTENTIONAL about my food choices (this goes for health and budget!). I still buy items many people would deem expensive- grass-fed meat, almond flour crackers– but we make them work for OUR budget, because they’re important to us.
10. I DIY before I buy when it makes sense. Listen, I am NOT over here milling my own flour to make bread, making my own cheese and milking my own cow (though to be honest, that sounds really cool). This mama does NOT have time for that. I’m talking making my own salad dressing with great ingredients, or making oat flour muffins instead of buying the expensive GF muffins from the store.
Curious about some of our family’s favorite meals- what WE eat on our budget of $600 a month? Check it out…
Beef & Farro Soup, Kale, Potato and Chorizo Frittata, Korean Beef Tacos, Teriyaki Salmon Bowls, Chicken Pot Pie Soup, Steel Cut Apple Spice Oats… and so much more goodness!
Now, do you have to do all of these things to eat well and spend less? No (some of them, like meal planning and using what you have first- I’d argue yes, they’re essentials!). But there are ALWAYS strategies to make eating well and spending less WORK for your family. Learn all of my best strategies and how to make them work for YOUR family in Healthy Mama on a Budget.
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