Yes, it absolutely can be. But you figure out ways to save here and there, and make it work.
Let’s talk about some of the ways I’ve learned to help with the grocery budget. So I mentioned my favorites at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods but how can I forget Costco? Here is a list of a few of the things that I use on a daily or weekly basis:
- organic tomato sauce, 12 pack
- organic tomato paste, 12 pack
- 2 big bottles of lemon juice (use some daily)
- organic prepacked apple packs (kids school snack)
- organic pre-washed spinach
- organic pre-cut carrots
- organic chicken stock, 6 pack (nice to have on hand but I really prefer to make my own)
- Almond milk
For the meats at Whole foods, I’ll get the grass fed chuck versus the sirloin most of the time. It’s a lot cheaper ($8.99 lb versus $6.99 per pound) but also, I want my kids to get that good healthy animal fat. It’s so good for them! Sometimes when I’m just cooking for myself I’ll use the grass fed sirloin or bison (for calorie’s sake really) but again, the fat is fine for everyone (a whole new post to come on why eating fat really won’t make us fat.).
We also go to the local farmer’s markets (Dekalb or The Catherdral’s on Sat morning). You can get some great fresh meats, goat cheeses, veggies, herbs, and more. It’s typically cost less, plus it’s just a fun trip for the whole family!
It’s also about learning your stores after years of comparison shopping. For example, I buy frozen okra all the time so when I need a quick snack and don’t have time to do lots of chopping, I can just put it on a pan and throw it in the oven. Today’s Harvest Cut Okra is $5.99 at Whole Foods and $3.49 Publix. That’s a huge difference, especially when I’m typically buying 3 bags a week. That’s $360 a year, on just okra!!
And, I certainly don’t go to whole foods and buy everything my heart desires. That would be nice but it’s not in the budget. So, that’s why I got to 3 different grocery stores weekly, if not more. And that’s not including the Costco run at least once a month. It’s just can all be so expensive so I really just get the stuff that (in my opinion) really needs to be organic. The meats are a must! And for the fruits and vegetables, I tend get the ones with thin skin so for example spinach, broccoli, grapes, zuchinni, eggplant, blueberries, tomatoes, etc. I’ll save avocado, limes, oranges, etc for Publix or Trader Joes.
I know it’s expensive, but so is eating out, and we don’t do that often. And, (much to my husband’s delight) I’m not a shopaholic — no Prada for me. You should see my sad closet! But you know what, I’d so much rather have my family eat healthy than have a new fun pair of jeans…at least for now. When I’m old and frumpy, you guys just get me on that show “What Not to Wear”. They’ll throw out my 10-year-old jeans and tees that I don’t realize are out of style (I’m probably already there and just dont know it. Dont tell me if so!) and help me then.
And by the way, please don’t interpret the above as a suggestion that you shouldn’t treat yourself. We all should! It’s just my priorities have changed, and, honestly, with all this grocery shopping and cooking, who has time to shop?