We’ve all heard it countless times, and have this image that’s ingrained in our minds, how if you’re poor you must eat only junk. This has never made much sense to me. I can blame this on the way I was raised. We’ve always had a garden and have always tried to eat as healthy as possible. We’ve also never had a lot of money, we’re comfortable. For as long as I can remember my mom has always made it a priority to provide for us. So, when I’d hear how people with less money were just expected to eat food that was less quality and unhealthy, I didn’t understand it.
For the most part, I think a lot of people don’t know how to shop within their budgets. It’s easier to open up a package and heat it up than it is to prepare a meal. This isn’t meant to come off as judgmental or that I am better than anyone else.
Schools do nothing to prepare us for any of this. For the most part, there are no classes that teach us to shop. Schools are not teaching how to be an adult. There are no real life skills classes.
Being able to eat healthy is all about priorities. If you can go out and get your hair and nails done, you can skip that and buy something that’s healthy. Instead of having a cell phone that’s on a contract switch to a prepaid plan (it’s usually half the cost of a contract).
Prioritize what is most important first, after that if there is anything left over then you can get the extras.
Manager’s special’s, clearance, and discontinued items are great ways to stretch a dollar. Don’t be put off by discounted foods.
Manager’s special is put on food a few days before their “sell by date”. If it’s fresh vegetables and fruit you can bring them home and freeze them, or if you know how to can your own you can do that. The same goes for meat. A lot of food can even be safely eaten after the best by date.
Clearance items may also be getting close to the “sell by date”or in some cases, the store has too many of that product and need to get it sold quickly.
Discontinued times are items the store will not be selling anymore for one reason or another. If this is a product that you use regualry, it’s time to stock up on it now before the store no longer carries it.
Bulk or not bulk?
Buying in bulk isn’t always the better deal. Always check the unit price.
For example: Walmart has 25lbs of pure cane sugar for $13.98. Not a bad deal. But you could buy 7, 4lb bags($2 each) for only $14 and get 28lbs of sugar. That’s 3 extra pounds of sugar for 2 extra cents.
Bulk can save you money if you’re smart about it. Example pork chops. Instead of buying already cut pork chops you can buy a whole pork loin(especially when they go on sale) and cut it into your own chops. Not only will you be able to get more out of it, you’ll be able to cut it into your own desired thickness.
Create a meal plan (a week at a time or even better for a whole month) and stick with it. This way you will know exactly what you need at the grocery store and be able to take the guess work out of what you need. You will also be less likely to forget anything.
~This is something that we are planning on doing for next month~
When a product you use regularly goes on sale stock up, buy extra. The next time you need it you’ll already have it and not have to pay full price. Plus since you have extra at home you will have more money to spend on stuff you really want later.
Invest in a food sealer/food saver. You’ll be able to keep your food fresher longer, and not have to worry about freezer burn.
We are a family of 4 that lives on roughly $373 a month for groceries. We eat good, we don’t have to eat just hamburger helper (which we do sometimes) and ramen all month long. We eat steak and fruits and vegetables. So it can be done.
We were able to stock up on fresh vegetables earlier this month at Kroger buying manager’s special.
Managers Special price
5 vegetable medley 12oz $.99 each
3 vegetable medley 32oz $ 1.49 each
2 green bean 12oz $.99 each
5 Stir fry veggies 12oz $.99 each
7 mushrooms 16oz $1.29 each
1 broccoli and cauliflower 12oz $.99 each
5 vegetable medley 12oz $2.99 each
3 vegetable medley 32oz $ 4.99 each
2 green bean 12oz $2.99 each
5 Stir fry veggies 12oz $2.99 each
7 mushrooms 16oz $4.49 each
1 broccoli and cauliflower 12oz $2.99 each
TOTAL SAVINGS: $58.90
The vegetables were frozen and the mushrooms were put into the dehydrator.
I’ll be talking more about canning and dehydrating your own food in a later blog.