|2013-01-11 17:55 (UTC)
|Nom nom nom|
If you're looking to eat somewhat healthier on a budget, I have a few suggestions that have brought our grocery bill for two down to about $130-140/month. We live in Phoenix so ymmv here, but for reference we were purchasing about $300/month in groceries and eating less healthy food.
First, check and see if there is a fruit and vegetable co-op in your local area. We use Bountiful Baskets. It's not locally grown, but for $15/week (it's a buy-in at your discretion, so you don't need to purchase each week if you don't want to) we get a laundry basket full of fruit and one of vegetables. It's nice because there's a lot of produce and it changes with the seasons so we're constantly getting new and sometimes unusual things. It doesn't look like they've grown out to where you are, but I'm sure there's something similar in your area.
Through the co-op, we discovered that the grocery distributor for the Phoenix Metro area is actually open to the public for produce purchases. It is not the same incredibly good deal that the baskets are, but the distributor will sell direct to the public at a massively discounted rate from what you'll pay for fresh food at a grocery store. Ours does not force us to buy bulk; they are nice, happy to help, and will literally rip open a bulk package to let you have part of it.
We also found a local butcher and started purchasing meat exclusively through them. While there was a lot of sticker shock at first, we soon discovered that a pound of ground beef cost less than twice as much but would go twice as far because it was much higher quality and we were more conscious about how we were using it. We also found that we were eating less meat and feeling more full for the same reasons.
Finally, we have a grocery store within walking distance that has bulk bins we use liberally. Learn to do some cooking with beans. I think I made a post in this very community a few months ago when I was first starting out, and the texture is so much better than canned. We invested in a pressure cooker since we were using our slow cooker so frequently, and honestly cooking at home is cheaper, healthier, and faster now.
Thanks to those changes, we only go to the regular grocery store these days for milk products and bread, and to raid the bulk bins. Like I said, our bills went down a lot! We aren't going to stores where we can do a lot of impulse food shopping anymore, which is really nice and has been very good for our wallets :)
My husband doesn't really care for bread except for buns so we don't buy a lot of that any more. I don't know how much longer we'll be in the Phoenix area, but I'm curious whether purchasing better milk products will be a similar overall savings that we experienced with meat.