Times are getting harder and harder these days as grocery prices go up. Shortages are expected to happen AGAIN and panic buying will only increase the problem. Are you going to be able to afford groceries for your family? The answer is YES!
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Join me as I share how to feed your family healthy and filling meals without breaking the bank! Remember, it’s always better to be prepared before a crisis or shortage than to panic when something does happen.
How to Afford Groceries in 2022
This post is not going to be the same old “buy pasta and ramen noodles” post. I believe we all deserve better than that, even though those things can be health and delicious if prepared right. YES, even in 2022 we all can afford to eat healthy food for our families. In my opinion, we can’t afford not to eat healthy as this will keep our toxic loads down and help our bodies fight any illness that comes upon us. And this will save tons on doctors bills in the near future and even our long term health by being our healthiest selves!
This one you can do right now. You can make a plan for the next time you go to the store for groceries. I always over spend on grocery shopping day when I don’t have a set list or plan. And then I come home with random items that I can’t do anything with!
First shop your pantry! Look at what you have, look in the freezers and fridge. THEN make your plan. There is only one store around me that does sales and coupons that are actually worth my time so if you have one you can check those sales before making your plan. My best store is H-E-B.
Okay so you shopped your pantry, checked the sales and coupons. Now you can plan! See what your plans are for the week and then come up with meals that fit both what you have on hand and what you can realistically do throughout the week. After making your meal plan make your shopping list. Go to the store and STICK WITH IT!
Cook From Scratch
Cooking from scratch will save you tons in the long run. Especially if you are trying to feed your family high quality and nutrient dense foods! Learn those old fashioned cooking and baking skills. You can use the best highest quality foods and still save money over buying cans and frozen convenance foods.
I used to “cook from scratch” when I first started learning how to cook, but really all I was doing was adding cans of this boxes of that, sticking a whole meal into the oven from the freezer. I quickly realized that the foods I was just throwing into a pot and stirring would be so easy to just make myself. Why did I need to make instant mashed potatoes when I could easily make them buy boiling water and mashing them myself without all the yuck! AND It’s so much cheaper.
Here’s a list of a few simple and a list of advanced kitchen skills to learn.
Simple kitchen skills to learn:
- Making a basic bread loaf by hand
- Learning how to make quick and simple meals
- Making quick breads like banana bread and muffins (super simple and very forgiving)
- Learning basic knife skills
- Cook from dried foods like dried beans and grains
- Making simple sides, sauces and dressings from scratch
- Cook a whole chicken
- breaking down a whole chicken
- Use real whole ingredients in place of canned
- Make homemade bone broth
- Learn how to use basic herbs and spices
Advanced kitchen skills
- Making a sourdough starter and using it in recipes (although really simple and easy, I know sourdough starters can be intimidating)
- Grinding grains
- Making bread with freshly ground grain and/or sourdough
- Making homemade pasta
- Making an entire meal from scratch with whole foods and foods you have produced on your own
- Preserving food – canning, dehydrating, freeze drying
- Making your own convenience foods without the extra ingredients
- processing meat
Start small. Learn one new skill, one new recipe, one new homemade swap! Good by cream of _________ and yucky brown water the store sells you as broth.
Buy Whole Foods to Afford Groceries
This goes along with cooking from scratch. Buying the individual ingredients and in season will give you the most nutritious and cost affective foods. Buy the ingredients and put them all together to make your own! If you have a trail mix you love, find all the ingredients and throw them together. Instead of buying cans of tomato soup, instead buy tomatoes crush them, and throw them in a pot and blend them up into soup (I hope to have a recipe up on the blog for this in the next few months!)
Grow your own food to Afford Groceries
Okay so I made this one category, but it could be more than one! You can grow a garden, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could also raise your food. It’s my dream to eventually raise my own food and have laying chickens and ducks, meat chickens, a dairy cow, and some cattle for meat. Another thing that can go along with this is hunting for your food. My husband is a hunter and we enjoy the game he brings home. Our next kitchen skill to learn is butchering and processing our own meat.
Remember that tomato soup I was telling you about? well what if I told you that you could grow almost all the ingredients for that soup in your own garden? You can grow tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil and other herbs right in your back yard! And the cream and butter can come from your dairy cow if you choose to be as crazy as me! Who needs a grocery store when you have all you need in your back yard. Although, I still love and utilize the grocery store and think it’s a blessing to have these foods readily available for when things don’t go as planned. And when you are learning new skills like cooking from scratch and gardening, there’s tons that can and will go wrong at the beginning.
Buy Bulk to Afford Groceries
Buying in bulk can seem overwhelming I know, but imagine the security and savings you will have! Buying in bulk can save tons! Start with simple things like dried beans or rice. Instead of buying a one pound bag of beans, buy a 5 or 10 pound bag. As you get the hang of it you can buy even bigger bags. My goal is to have a years worth of dried food, but starting small with a 3 month supply is a wonderful start. I am working on buying more like 25-50 pound bags.
Another way to save money is instead of buying something like a bag of shredded cheese, see if you can find it in a block. You can then take it home and shred it, or slice it for bread, or even cube it for a snack. Ps. this is also a great way to make an amazing charcuterie bored to impress, without spending a ton of money. Add homemade sourdough crackers and you will take it over the top.
Where to Buy Bulk Food?
Sam’s club and Costco
There’s a few places you can buy bulk food. Stores like Sam’s club and Costco are great places to start. These are membership clubs but totally worth it in savings, especially if you are a large family and need bigger quantities anyways. Sam’s is getting better with more healthy food choices and great prices. Costco is a little more expensive in some areas, but they tend to have healthier alternatives and way more organic options if that’s a priority to you.
I love shopping with Azure Standard though for most of my bulk shopping. You can get things in even bigger quantities and bigger savings from them. Bonus, they come from farms from all over the U.S. I love buying my wheat berries from them so that I can always have freshly ground flour for my baking. They have the best options for natural and healthier alternatives in bulk amounts. The more you buy the cheaper it is per unit.
Lets say you are getting organic hard red wheat berries. Looking at the Azure website right now as this post is being made, you can buy a 5 pound bag for $6.30 which is $1.26 per pound but if you bought the 50 pound back. But if you get a 50 pound bag its $45.03 and $0.96 per pound. That’s $15 in savings if you buy the 50 pound bag over the 5 pound bag!
This is also true for meat. You will pay insane prices for grass fed beef individually at the grocery store. But Buying a whole cow directly for the butcher will save you tons. You will get so many cuts of meat that you other wise probably couldn’t get or wouldn’t want to get because they are too expensive. Make sure to ask for the fat of your animals so you can make beef tallow or lard from your pigs. Don’t forget about the bones either! They have so much nutrients in them and will make you the best Bone broth for your soups. This is something you want to save up for though, because it is a huge cost up front.
Can low income families afford healthy food?
Absolutely! These tips can help anyone afford groceries! It might take a little longer to build up your pantry. But it will start paying for itself soon! Start with one thing at a time. maybe give up or go with out one thing so you can afford a bigger bag of flour. And now you can make your bread products at home!
How will this help me afford groceries?
Have you ever noticed how much processed convenience foods cost per unit? The cost is insane! You will easily spend over $10 for 8 very small breakfast burritos and my husband usually needs 2 of them. Now think about how much it would cost if it was a healthy or organic version. Or You decide to go to a local drive threw to get breakfast, because you know they use fresh ingredients. lets just say that’s at least $5 for one person to have breakfast.
Now imagine you meal planned, have a few plants or herb in the garden, learned a few skills in the kitchen, bought whole foods that you weren’t growing and in bulk. Lets say you have herbs and peppers in the garden so you pick some of those after making your meal plan. Made a list of what you needed. Potatoes, eggs, cheese, sausage and tortillas if you don’t make them at home, which you totally should because they are amazing!
Now you can make a huge batch of burritos, and have your own convince and very healthy food! And it costs pennies on the dollar! Even if you spent $20 on buying all those items not even in big bulk sizes, you would make at least 30+ burritos making them super healthy and less than $1. If you had gotten everything in big bulk sizes it would be even bigger savings.
It’s OKAY to Need Help to Afford Groceries
I want to end this post with some encouragement. Its okay to ask for help when you need it. Please look for food pantries if your family is struggling. In my experience, sometimes the food isn’t the healthiest but if you are starving you need it! I also know that some times it can be the most random foods! Take this time to learn some new recipes and get creative with the food you are given. If you have little ones or are pregnant apply for WIC. You can get really nifty with WIC items and pare them with coupons to stretch your dollars. And in these hard times many people are seeking help from EBT. IT’s okay! We all need a little help to get back on our feet every once in a while.
I would use those resources to my advantage. You can get organic options for a few things with wic depending on your state. You can also buy food producing plants with EBT or food stamps! Use your food benefits to stock up on a few things for later. See a good deal on that organic flour you like, get 3 of them! Did you know places like sprouts and natural grocers also take EBT?
Let it be your crutch to get yourself out of hard times. I have heard from others that once they excepted the help, they were then able to put money back into savings instead of living paycheck to paycheck and pull themselves out of the ditches of poverty.
Everyone’s journey is different. If right now you can’t afford the grass fed beef or organic food, its okay. Just remember, buying the worst whole foods is still healthier and cheaper then buying any processed convince foods! Your body and health will thank you in the long run as well!