As Matt and I were working on our 2009 budget…we were looking at all the ways we could try to cut corners…yet there were really no more corners to cut. Yes, our budget has rounded edges.
And yet…we’re always fine. We always have way more than enough of everything we need. God is so good!!!
If there were more ways to skimp on our budget, we would. But we really do like our kids to be wearing socks without holes and well…running water is such a nice luxury.
There are all kinds of things we choose not to spend our money on. You can read about them here and here.
There is one area of our budget we refuse to skimp: FOOD. (And yes I know I wrote about this already several months ago…but I keep hearing about people who are chopping their food budgets way down in 2009. I just hope people are cutting it because they spend too much on processed foods and want to buy better food for their buck.)
I used to be a Coupon Queen and a big time food skimper. I compromised the quality of food we ate because I wanted to save money. In the past 3 1/2 years I’ve done a complete turn around and I AM SO THANKFUL. I wrote about it here…please read it if you haven’t already…but it basically says that we NEED to take care of our bodies by eating GOOD NUTRITIOUS FOOD. I wish I could emphasize this more. (You might want to read my whole Getting Real with Food series to learn more about how we eat.)
AND ALSO…can I emphasize how YUMMY wholesome, real food is compared to all of the free or next to free “foods” I was getting with coupons? Not to mention how much better our bodies feel when we eat good food.
I get emails and comments all the time from readers wanting to know how and where I shop and how I am able to afford to feed our family of six so well. Besides just simply stating that God provides…I came up with an idea that I hope will be fun!
For the next few weeks (or so…until you get bored, and sick of going places with me)…I’m going to take you shopping with me. I’ll take you to the farms where we get our milk and eggs…I’ll introduce you to my cow. (Okay, I don’t have a cow, but there is a particular cow I’m very fond of.)…I’ll take you to my food co-op drop off. I’d take you to the farmer’s market and to my garden…but I can’t because it’s WINTER. :)
I’ll document for you how much I spend on everything and how we make our food budget work. I’ll share with you how I buy in bulk and how I store my food.
I’m curious to know how some of you feel about cutting corners in your food budget? While I’m doing this series, what are some specific things you’d like to hear about? (Like, would you like for me to take a nice picture of my 50 pound bag of oats and do an entire blog post about eating and storing oats? Kidding.)
More frugal tips at Biblical Womanhood.
Lee Anne says
I am so thankful you are going to do this! What an awesome idea! I have 2 year old twins so am really starting to learn all of these sorts of things. I made most of their food as babies and I have to say I am very blessed they eat pretty healthy foods. But, I need to learn about storing foods and things like that more. I am so excited you are doing this and looking forward to it! Thank you so very much for being willing to share this with the rest of us!!!!!!
I think this sounds like a great series! Umm, however, I actually WOULD like to see your 50lb bag of oats and know where you get it and how to store it and anything else you buy in bulk and store. Seriously!
What's Cooking says
I’d love to hear more about your food budgeting. We’ve been doing Dave Ramsey for 4 months now and I’m amazed at how much quality organic food cost. I’m still way below the national averages for “thrifty food budget families” but compared to some of the other blogs I seem to be high. Like you, I’d rather spend more money and have quality healthy food for my family but the budget is tight. Thanks! Can’t wait to see what you post!
I would love to hear about where you buy your grains; you write wonderfully about how you grind your own flour, and I’m curious as to the process of it all. You might have a tutorial somewhere on that already, though, and I just haven’t come across it yet!
I think it’s awesome the way you eat and feed your family. The past two years my husband and I have changed our eating habits almost 100% for the better. I LOVE the fact that you’re doing this on your blog, and I’ll be excited to read more about it! (and to see your sourdough bread turns out:)
Oh I wanna go, I wanna go! ;-)
In the last 2 years, I’ve found more $ for real food by NOT BUYING the fake food!
It just keeps working out on its own!
I find myself thrilled when I just go around the store(produce, meat, frozen f&v), rather than through the isles of processed stuff!
I’m still prowling for milk and our egg lady said her chickens had cut back so much that she’s not had extra so…
I’ve been wanting to share something with you about one of my boys and some trouble that he was having directly related to regular store milk….
You’ve continuously inspired me to keep on keeping on! I keep looking for more and more ways to improve our diet and more quick, easy, (and frugal) healthy recipes! You’ve supplied so many that have fit into our routine!
One of the great things that you’ve done is make it look soooo easy! (and quick)
You still workin’ with that camera? I would love for you to show us how quick you whip up things like bread and snacks…and perhaps how you store things to help you work quickly!
You did tell us that you can bake in your sleep once! ;-) God bless!
oh and ummm ..yeah! I would like to see a post about how you soak and use oats outside of breakfast!
I find them often unpredictable once soaked! (in muffins and breads)
I want to come along too and yes, I’m interested in the 50# bag of oats! I also want to know when and how you get it all done! Do you make everything in advance (like muffins for b’fast)? I recently had to give up the raw milk because it was costing me at least $10 / gallon and I just can’t afford it right now. Any suggestions? My husband won’t let us get a cow or a goat : – )
Jill Roper says
When my dh and I had the 2009 budget talk he affirmed me by saying there really wasnt any way to cut on the food budget. I stay away from all the aisles with processed food with an occassional mac and cheese ( I know :( but I have some boys that love the taste of it) I need a place that I can buy oats in 50# bags. I have decided that Michigan is WAY behind. The health food store had never heard of rapadura or anything close and Azure Co wont ship in Michigan.
So, teach away Miss Laura.
Melonie (Momma & More) says
One more vote for the people who really DO want to see your oats. :-) Seriously, this sounds so fun. Just promise that you will take us to the farmers’ market with you come spring!
[email protected] says
Great idea–I can’t wait! Thanks so much for sharing all of this. I am using your cookbooks that I bought last month, and really enjoying them. Your recipes are very budget friendly, I think. (I haven’t bought the rapadura, but am using honey or real maple syrup where I can.)
I am so thankful for all the wisdom and insight you share on your blog! I have learned so much! This new “series” will be so wonderful and beneficial. I am so excited!! :)
I can’t wait to hear your new series. What we struggle with here is the various eating issues we have to cook around. In a family of four, we have one with allergies to all nuts, one who is picky, one who is a vegetarian who has to eat gluten free. It seems impossible to cook one meal for all of us. If not, I feel like I am in the kitchen all the time. With four children, how do you cook so everyone can eat. You may not have to deal with the food allergies or intolerances, so that may make a big difference.
I’m in as well! This is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. I spend $500 or less per month on groceries for my family of 5 — 2 very active boys (one is a hockey player and eats us out of house and home), 1 7yo girl, and me and my hubby. We are all hearty eaters and I cook nearly everything from scratch. I refuse to compromise the quality of our food.
I am also in Michigan (someone else up in the comments is as well). Yep, our state is a bit behind, but I have a dear blogging friend in the Grand Rapids area who buys in bulk, co-ops, owns part of a cow, grinds her own grains, etc. It can be done! Personally, I want to learn more about the bulk buying and co-oping. We’re looking into buying a side of beef to process, but have no idea how to go about that. I’d also like to grind my own grains for breads. I make my own breads from flours from the whole foods market, but I don’t grind the grains yet.
Anyway, this series will be wonderful for me!
Yea! I’m so glad you’re going to write about this! I, too tried one of those coupon games several years back. We were eating nothing but JUNK. I did have left over grocery money in the budget. However, our waistlines were expanding! It was totally not worth it!
Like one of the other readers said, we are big Dave Ramsey followers also so buying organic, non-processed food has hit our grocery budget pretty hard.
But the more I read and learn I simply can’t feed my family the trash of the typical American standard diet.
I can’t wait to see how you implement healthy eating on a budget.
I used to play the coupon games, but I have found that most of the coupons are are for processed food which we don’t buy anymore. I’m trying to make food healthier and homemade. I’m looking forward to the series and how you make it all work. :D
JILL- YOu can order here for cheap… or any of you…..
http://www.naturalgrocers.com I love their prices and their food!
OK, onto other comments….
I too was a huge coupon queen… spending maybe a small $300 a month on food for our family of 6…. Now I spend $600 for food a month… and I am happy with that number… It is actaully WHAT we would get if we were on foodstamps (the highest amount up to $650) I am planning on doing a blog soon about how to eat healthy on foodstamps (even though we are not on them… I had the county figure out what we would get if we were low low income and with our 4 kids and us)
I think people like convenience and then complain that they don’t have money to eat healthier! COME ON, I have seen what foodstamp buyers sometimes buy…. SOOO many things we CAN’T afford to buy because we CHOOSE healthy food!
OK, enough of that rant!
I am excited to see how you do it because it would be fun to see if we can still eat healthy and cut alittle out…(ok, we do buy some chips once in awhile, and some Organic treats…LOL! we could cut those out, but my kids would kill me)
OH, we do buy YUMMY EARTH SUCKERS in bulk… that way they have a treat and I only spend about $25 every 6 months on them!
I think this is a terrific idea, Laura, I will be watching and waiting! :)
Good idea on your next series. It sounds very interesting and helpful. I am really looking forward to it! One of the amazing things I have found by eating this way is, my husband actually enjoys the real food, where as before trying to eat “healthy” was not appetizing to him at all. Thanks for all your help!
I think this is a great idea for a series!
I have noticed over time that it is, indeed, cheaper to eat helthfully than to eat a lot of prepared and processed foods. I have learned, however, that I am able to cook and bake a lot from scratch because I am home all day with my children and do not work outside of the home. Healthful eating is definitely time-consuming, and I don’t know how I’d be able to do nearly as much if I had to work…
I’d like to explore other sources of healthy foods besides just our grocery store. I find it difficult to drag my child(ren) around to several different stores, and need to figure out how to shop more than one place efficiently!
Monica M. says
Hi Laura, I would love to hear about the bread process. I know you have a grain mill. Do you have one of those fancy bosch mixer or what do you use. The big question I have is where to begin if you were just starting out and maybe the prices/budget. I can’t wait intil you begin.
Amanda T. says
I’m so excited. Cause I’m learning. I’ve been a coupon carrying, processed food buying mom and I’m turning over a new leaf. No more. We are changing our grocery shopping ways. So, now I need to know more about how…
Texas mom of 4 says
I may not go out and buy a billion pounds of oats, but I would Love to see what you do with them! I’m all about absorbing info from other families and making it fit ours. Please, Teach me your ways. I can’t wait!
Cassie J. says
Some of my friends keep trying to get me to join a coupon service. You pay a monthly fee and the service generates a list of bargains for you. That just doesn’t sit well with my frugal nature so I have not joined. I do use some coupons but since I buy generic items 90% of the time, the coupons don’t really help me. My kids are really picky eaters so I try to buy the things they like but in an organic version. But the price of these items is outrageous. What advice to you have for this problem?
I’ve been reading your site since my darling friend, jayme, ‘introduced’ me to you. ;) I think your honesty and willingness to share is incredible. I also think you are one of the most amazing homemakers ever, and are truly an example of the titus 2 woman in action!!!!! I too look forward to your series on ‘goin to the store’. We have many food allergies, which makes eating inexpensively, but heatlhy, organic, from scratch extra challenging to say the least. :) We use a co-op for our cleaning and hygiene products, which makes those expensive, healthy, non-chemically laden, fragrance free, totally yummy products that we use actually just barely more expensive than there walmart ‘counterterparts’. We buy organic everything, or as much as is possible. We shop at the farmers’ market. We grow a garden and can food. AND YET, I still feel there is room for much improvement. Like, how do I make such a little garden space have higher yields? I know all about crop rotation, but how exactly does one actually know when to plant what? How do I find a place to buy eggs locally, not at the farmers market? How do I find a local co-op for food? Have you ever heard of CSA and what are your thoughts? I am ubber excited to hear about how you do it all!!! I know some of it won’t apply because of the food allergies, but I just know that there are going to be some real gems. Can’t wait! Thanks for all you do.
So glad I found your blog, enjoying what I’m reading.
Buying in bulk works really, really well for my family of six. You’d be surprised how fast 50lb bags of flour can be used. :)
It gives me a feeling of immense pride to be able to feed my family healthy, homemade foods.
Yes, I’m with you. I shop once a month, and am trying to do my best to buy nutritiously, not necessarily cut back. Thanks for all the wonderful info. You have inspired me to switch to rapidura and to start gardening and canning again. :-) I plan to do a lot more this year. I’m hooked! Thanks again! We live in KY now, compliments of the US Army, but my hometown is 30 miles from York!
Hope your day is filled with blessings.
Andrea in Alaska says
Thank you, thank you! This is a WONDERFUL post. I feel so guilty sometimes for spending so much MORE money on the organic and hormone free varieties of simple things and putting my family to so much more trouble because we drive to a farm once a week for fresh milk or have to drive to the city once a month to pick up our Azure Standard order. Then I’m pregnant and laying on the couch with my swollen feet up and my HUSBAND is cooking from scratch because I don’t have any easy convenience foods around!
It is a huge goal in my life to learn straitforward and livable whole foods cooking and baking, to be prepared with a well stocked kitchen and organized menus and shopping lists, and to set the stage for a wholesome, healthy life for my family. Thank you for sharing with us. I have SO MUCH to learn!
Hey girls in MI:
Have you checked out Country Life Natural Foods in Pullman, MI? http://www.clnf.org/ You definitely should! I don’t even live in MI, but when we were visiting relatives there over the holidays, we drove to this store and stocked up for the year. We got our wheat berries for $27.50 for 50#, a 50# bag of oats for $20, etc., etc. Also, if you have a big enough order, you may be in their delivery areas and they deliver free. They have an on-line catalog, so you can get all the info there.
I look forward to your series, Laura! I have really enjoyed your blog!
I am SO thankful that you are considering this topic/series! I have a small family (there are only 3 of us – let’s keep prayin’ God has plans to grow that number this year! :o) and we CERTAINLY didn’t eat healthful food when I was growing up. If is wasn’t boxed or pre-packaged or take-out, it was probably fried! I am trying (my very overweight self :o) to make beter choices for my family. We do much better than I had growing up, but since I wasn’t TAUGHT those things, I need all the help I can get. I can’t wait to read ANYTHING you blog on this topic, Laura and thank you again!
Jennifer Ott says
Thank you so much! I read your other posts and was so encouraged. I really struggle with this as we don’t have much money, and I can “feed” us for less money if I use coupons, etc. However, my hubby thinks the healthier food is worth it. Our only non-bill category in our budget is food/gas, so it’s hard to fork out the money… Thank you for the encouragement. By the way, the whole family (14 months, 2, 4 and the parents) all love the breakfast cookie recipe!
I can’t wait to follow this! Thank you for sharing this with us. I know it will help me and many others improve our eating and out budgets.
What I’m trying right now for food budgeting is I’m trying to do a better job of eating what we already have in the refrigerator and cupboards. I get to thinking there is nothing to eat and I go buy more when really, if I just thought ahead a little more, I would realize that there are plenty of things to use. I read something about how much food we Americans let go bad. It means more packaging, more gas used to ship more food, etc. So, trying to spend less but using what I already have. Make sense? Maybe not to you larger families as leftovers are something of a mystery to you.
Jill Roper says
Thanks ladies for several new websites for places to buy from. I Mapquested the store in Pullman and I am about 2 1/2 hours away so that isnt practical but I will find out if they have co-ops they ship to. I also checked out the other website and found rapadura there in a smaller quantity then the 35# the Azure Co sells. Their shipping charges were almost $40 for one shipment of rapadura! Crazy. I love this series. Keep up the great work Laura.
Hi Laura!! I`m really looking forward to going shopping with you!! Lol! Since I read Nourishing Traditions last year I`ve been trying to cook heathier meals for our family.By the way,I too have a 50 Lb. bag of oats in my kitchen!!
Amy Lynne says
I love this idea. I am just getting ready to start buying more in bulk for more from scratch cooking! Packaged pasta sides and sauces is no longer what I want to be serving my family. Since we’ve switched to a lot more organic foods we are realizing all the goodness we have been without for so long. I am so glad I am not alone in this quest to keep my boys and hubby healthy! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your ideas!
Prudent Homemaker says
We eat this way too. I get my oats sealed in a mylar bag inside a plastic food grade bucket from Walton Feed. I bought gamma lids to make opening the current bucket easy. I have wheat, popcorn (50 lb bag from Sam’s Club), powdered milk, sugar, etc. like this.
I have heard about another place that ships for less; I can’t remember the name but I am going to research it; less money for shipping would be good.
I’m in for everything. Can’t learn too much! I have cut our food bill drastically this year. But it is largely because we are eating much healthier….less processed food. I make a lot of our things now, and enjoy it immensely!
Shannon Fowler says
I’m looking forward to this!! I’m interested in seeing where you buy and how you store. :)
Hey, I’d like to see the picture of the 50# bag of oats & you eating them!! :D
thanks for doing this! I am really excited! I too was into coupons…played thegrocerygame, but my health became a priority. It is still just about killing me that we are spending more, but it is worth it. I am hoping as I learn to make more and more from home that we will be spending much less!
Sadly, we are VERY limited on space(family of 6-two bedroom townhouse w/no storage or garage!), so I can’t really buy bulk. Any suggestions for those who are in our situation and can’t buy bulk? Maybe we can all just get together and have a blog prayer day where we pray that the Lord would provide a larger space if it is His will! =)hehe!
Can’t wait to read more! I’m currently trying to eat healthier. Actually, most of what I cook is healthy, but still somehow we end up with junk around!
One thing that would be nice, is to know what your hubby and boys snack on. My hubby likes to snack(Okay, I do, too!), but he typically goes for white flour junk! :( I need ideas for grab and go foods that can keep in the freezer or pantry.
Also, what I’m struggling with is the budget issue. We literally don’t have extra to work with. So any healthy but inexpensive food ideas would really be appreciated! And I also ditto Tarena- I have zero storage space! Ah, well, make do with what you have, right? God is good!
I can’t wait to read all about it, I am always trying to eat healthier.
I am really excited about this series too! And I’ll put my vote in for you showing us the oats :)
I’m trying not be jealous with all the people I know who have Azure Standard coming through their area. It looks like such a great resource.
Elizabeth Quigley says
i look foward to reading more on this. I too am an ex coupon queen. I have been scratch cooking for about 5 years. I feel sad when i read blogs and see what women are feeding there families all in the name of saving a few pennies. I tell everyone that reads my blog you will read on my blog how to feed your family on 40.00 a week that is just not possible and buy healthy foods.
Thanks, I’ll be back to read more! :)