- I had to sacrifice junk to get the good food we need. We may not have "fun" foods like chips and soda, but we have a produce drawer full of colorful fruits and veggies, and a freezer full of lean meats. Our pantry is full of good stuff, too.
- I have "magic numbers" when I shop. Teresa taught me this a while ago--she only buys produce when it is $1 a pound or less. This saves money, and most of the time the produce at that price is what is seasonally and locally available, which makes it even better. I will go a few cents over, but that's it. The same goes for meat. I know I can get fresh chicken tenderloins at Sam's Club for $2.17 a pound, and I won't pay more at the grocery store. If necessary, I buy lots at SC and freeze it so that we always have lean meat for meals. This week boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound at Publix, so that is certainly an acceptable purchase.
- I stock up on dry goods and other non-perishables only when they are on sale. I can buy whole grain pasta at two boxes for $1.39 about every six weeks. I buy it then and only then, and I buy enough to make it to the next sale.
- I create a detailed shopping list before I go to the store so that I know exactly how much I'm spending ahead of time. If I'm over budget, I edit the list. I keep a running total on my calculator at the store to be sure I'm not surprised at the check out. I only spend the money budgeted for that trip. Period.
- I weigh the produce before it goes into the cart. If I don't weigh it, I won't know how much it will cost.
- I don't meal plan, but I do have a plan for what I buy so that I know it will be eaten. For example, not one person in my household eats carrots or celery regularly. I don't buy them anymore. I used to because they're "healthy," but that only served to enrich the compost pile. If I buy an ingredient we're not accustomed to having, I make a plan for it's use before it comes home.
- Ready for the paradox? I buy the best. I never want a meal in this house to be a disappointment compared to an unhealthy meal. Spending a few bucks more on good food that will be eaten is much better than spending a few less bucks on food we will avoid until it needs to be thrown away. Like carrots and celery. :)
- I ensure that what I buy will be eaten. More on budget friendly kitchen organization next week. :)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Financial Fun: A Healthy Budget
Not too long ago I started having some health issues that made me rethink the way I live-- especially the way I eat. In misguided attempts to save money, I was feeding myself and my family food that was sub-par as far as health goes. It has taken a while, but I have found that it is still possible to provide healthy meals in our household, even though we are on a strict budget. I have a budget of $300 a month ($350 a month when there are five shopping days).