With rising food costs, gas prices that could skyrocket at any given moment, and the uncertainty of election year — there isn’t a lot of spare cash in most households. This means that we must make our dollars work for us whether we are living in the country, the suburbs, or the city. Perhaps now, more than ever, we need to be careful what we are supporting with our limited funds. You know?
So what are the best ways to cut costs regardless of where we live or how much time we have to devote to squinting at tiny ingredients labels or driving around looking for “locally grown” produce stands?
- Create a meal calendar. Start small. Just plan two weeks worth of meals and shop around that rough sketch. Try and make the meat stretch into two or three days worth of meals. Example: Make a large roast on Friday, have stroganoff on Saturday, and then stir-fry on Sunday. You can use the leftover roast to slice up in the stroganoff and stir-fry. See? Not hard at all. Here’s another great site to look at (click here).
- Call around for price deals. Don’t drive from place to place for one item. Find out which store has the most items at competitive prices and go there. Stick to the list unless you find fresh produce on sale that you are able to preserve (canning or freezing).
- Stop altogether or greatly reduce going out to eat in restaurants. Pack a little cooler with slices of bell pepper, cucumbers, apples, grapes — something to keep you from getting hungry while you are out and then paying exorbitant prices for food.
- Know that it is not always possible or feasible to buy everything organic. So, here’s a list of the fruits and vegetables that are most likely to carry multiple harmful pesticide residues: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach, and strawberries.
- Start an indoor garden (many of you can start it outdoors but I’m making this list for everyone) and grow your own bell peppers, tomatoes, and/or fresh herbs.
Do you have any other ideas/suggestions? Please share!
A random commenter will receive a packet of basil from Seeds of Change and two coupons for Earthbound Farms Organics as a thank you for putting up with a post filled with pictures that I did not take (except for the salsa and the lunchbox). Congratulations, Ann!