Natural Savings: Food

Couponing is becoming very popular thanks to shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing and the down economy. I think all of us want to save some money. But if you look at the products in stockpiles, like the one in the video above, you don’t see a lot of organic, real food and natural products. So is it possible to eat healthy food and save money? Yes, you aren’t likely to end up with a stockpile like the one above but you can reduce your food budget. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Meal plan. The average American family throws away 14% of their groceries away. Meal planning can help keep you from wasting food and save you money. There are many ways to meal plan. I plan a months worth of meals but I don’t pick what day we will have the meals. Some people plan a week at a time, some plan what days they will have each meal, it’s all about what works for you.
  2. Get creative with leftovers. This still is talking about reducing waste. Leftovers can often be made into new meals. I like to take leftover mashed potatoes and make either potato soup or even just add some seasoning and put cheese on the top for a new side dish. Leftover veggies are great for soups, leftover meat can be put in pasta, casseroles, etc.. The ideas are endless.
  3. Eat less meat. Meat is expensive, even more so when you start talking about organic, grass-fed, and so on. Eating less of it will help your food budget and your health. Try out Meatless Monday and also try to use meat for flavor and not as the main part of the meal. Around here we rarely eat a piece of meat as a main dish but instead I put a small amount of meat in something else, like pasta, on rice, with veggies, and so on.
  4. Look for sales. If you have the room, stock up on foods your family eats a lot when they go on sale. Just be sure not to buy more than you will use before it goes bad. Also be flexible when possible, I often will switch a couple of items on my list if I find something is on sale.
  5. Grow your own. You don’t need land to grow food, you can even put a few pots on your porch and grow a few things. Every little bit you grow is food you don’t have to buy.
  6. Shop your local farmer’s market. Buying directly from the farmer can help cut costs. You may also find some farmers that grow their food organically but haven’t paid to be certified so they are a bit cheaper than certified organic foods.
  7. Use coupons*. While there aren’t a lot of organic coupons there are some, so when you find them and they are products you really will use, use them.
  8. Cook from scratch when possible. Cooking from scratch is almost always cheaper than buying pre-made food and it’s better for you. It can also be fun to learn to make new foods and you will likely find most of the time the food is much better.
  9. Eat less. Most of us overeat, reducing what we eat to a reasonable amount will help your food budget and waist line.
  10. Eat in season. Produce is cheaper when it’s in season. Freezing and canning produce can help you enjoy the foods year round.

These are just a few ways to save money on food without giving up quality. Please share your ideas in the comments below.

*Organic Coupons-
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  1. says

    I coupon for green products and healthy ingredient type food. On a good day, I reduce my bill by 50%. Most of my savings comes from buying produce on sale.t I am pleasantly surprised to regularly find store coupons for items like organic mushrooms and carrots. True, there are coupons for a lot of junk. I look at as saving me time because I don’t have to read EVERY coupon ad or deal matchup in the sales flyers or spent hours doing my grocery shopping trying to find every deal on every shelf. I wrote about it here with a photo of my groceries

    The idea behind stockpiling is not to get those most stuff and pile it in your basement, although there are crazy people who will do that no matter what. The idea is to buy a few extra items when they are on sale and hopefully paired with a coupon so you won’t have to buy the items at full price when you run out. With extra tucked away you can wait until the next sale cycle to buy it on sale if you need it. Sale cycles usually run every 3 months.

    Most coupon people dislike that show because it make couponers look like crazy hoarders or cheats that feed their families Cheetos for breakfast. I’m sure there are people like that out there but I met the guy in the video at Blissdom. He said he donated most of the stuff in his basement to local food banks.

    • says

      One of the two locally owned stores I shop at doesn’t take coupons and they keep prices really low all the time so don’t have a ton of sales. The other one does take coupons but I mostly buy locally produced products there and those of course don’t have coupons. So pretty much couponing will never be a big thing for me lol. For those it works for that’s great. :)

      I know normal people have less crazy stockpiles, we buy some items in bulk but I could never fill a basement or several closets haha. And I know most big couponers donate a lot of stuff. And that’s great.

  2. says

    I’m hoping to grow more of my own in the future, but it’s going to be a slow process for me. This year: a basil plant! For now, I’m happy to patronize the farmer’s market, which has GREAT prices and great taste. I think the best idea is to eat less, which is the hardest one of all. I read in Omnivore’s Dilemma how Americans consume on average something like 300 more calories per day than a few decades ago. But it’s a tough mind shift for sure.

  3. says

    Great post! For years we have kept ziplock bags in our freezer for vegie and meat scraps. I use these to make my own fresh soup stock. Whenever I am cooking I put the garlic and onion skins and other vegie tidbits like carrot ends or scallion tips in the freezer ziplock. I also put chicken bones, etc in another bag. When the bags are full I make stock! Easy peasy. We are never without fresh stock and, consequently, soup.

  4. says

    I think you can buy season products it’s a good idea even you have to buy for example fruits and vegetables at the right time of the season not too early otherwise you will pay more.

    And you can buy with less packaging in the loose products. They are less expensive most of the time and it’s better for the environment 😉

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