Real food isn’t cheap, there is no way around that. That’s why it is important to learn to use what you have and be informed about where you might find deals on real food. Last week I shared a few tips on how to save money on real food, today we are going to continue on with that in part two.
Buy in Bulk
Last week I mentioned buying from a co-op. Co-ops are a great option for buying bulk items. In fact almost all of my dry bulk purchases come from Azure standard. I buy bags of grains, sugars and other items in 20 to 50 lb bags. If you don’t want to buy that much of an item or don’t have to storage space you can buy smaller quantities at a time as well such as 5 lbs. I also buy things like almonds, peanuts, sherded coconut and cocoa powder in 5 lb bags.
Many grocery stores like Raley’s, Sprout and Whole Foods have a wide verity of bulk bins where you can stock up on smaller amount of bulk items. Modern Alternative Mama buys many of her bulk purchases at a store in Amish Country a few hours from her home.
If you can afford to, buying meat in bulk is a wonderful way to save money on your meat purchases. I went in with a friend last year and bought 1/6th of a cow. There is nothing like having fresh meat in your freezer for the year. When I was younger I remember my parents’ buying enough whole chickens to last us a year. Diana of My Humble Kitchen wrote a post last year about using tax returns to buy pastured beef in bulk for the year. If you have land you could look into raising your own like my grandparents’ did. If you buy meat in bulk or want to raise your own you are going to want to look into a deep-freeze or a stand-up freezer.
I buy large amounts of peaches every summer to preserve for the rest of the year. Like I mentioned last week I normally buy “seconds” since I will be cutting them up anyway. The farmer I buy my fruit from also gives discounts when you buy a whole case or fruit. Depending on where you live there is all kind of produce that you can buy in bulk to preserve for later.
Bartering is a great way to save money on real food. You might have great garden while a friend might have chicken for eggs. Why not swap produce for eggs? Or it might be that your local dairy man (if you are blessed to have one) will trade you raw milk for homemade soap. Some farms will give you produce in exchange for labor. There are many ways to trade goods or skills for real food items depending on the community where you live.
Make your own
Have you ever read the “Little House” books? They were hands down my FAVOURITE series growing up. Ma Ingalls had so many practical and necessary skills that she taught her girls that have become a lost art. Thankfully my mom imparted some of those to me at an early age so making my own essentials has never seemed weird. As time has gone on I have learned more skills to make my own essentials that I used to buy from the store.
I do buy a few minimally processed foods from the store that are time saving and nice to have but that list is very short.
Here are some of the things that I make at home:
- Bread (including all baked good with the exception of an occational loaf of sourdough bread)
- Ice Cream
- Lard and tallow
- Chicken Tenders/Nuggets
- Pancakes and Waffles
- Yogurt and Dairy Kefir
- Kombucha and Water Kefir
- Canned Fruit
- Dried Fruit
- Frozen Fruit
- Flour Tortillas
- Corn Tortillas
Here are the packaged Items I buy at the store:
- Pasta (including rice paper and wonton wrappers)
- Frozen Fruit
- Pepperoni, Bacon, Link Sausage
- Chocolate Bars and Chocolate Chips
- Occasional Potato or Corn Chips
- Occasional Corn Tortillas or Sourdough Bread