As I’m sure with the case of many of you, I love food. My family loves food. FOOOD! The result of this is we spend WAY too much on it. Our grocery food budget in past months have been topping out at over $1000 for 2 adults and one child. That doesn’t even count eating out. I joined a youneedabudget.com (YNAB) Facebook group recently to get tips on the tool, and someone posted they were spending $350 on groceries in a month for 4 people (2 children). Ugh.
I got a bit jazzed when I was listening to the ChooseFI podcast about “How to crush your grocery bill”. Immediately afterwards I went to the ChooseFI site to read about Jonathan’s “Ultimate Costco Meal Plan“, where his goal is to spend around $2 per meal on average. I’m already doing some of the things that Jonathan is doing. I also realized that grocery are WAY cheaper in the US of A than up here in the great wild north of Canada. Despite this, I have some serious lessons to learn from Johnathan’s quest for low cost, healthy eating.
Once I get paid next week and I’m not poor, I’ll be trying some of Jonathan’s suggestions to implement a strict food budget. I don’t see myself going out to buy a bread maker, but I just may try my hand at making bread old-skool. Also, I purchased an Instant Pot before I got FIRE-ed up (I have the 6 quart which is perfect for my needs…all of you must also buy one. DO IT.) in which I want to try my hand at making my own yogurt. This should theoretically save a few bucks a month! Update: 2+ years later, we bought a used breadmaker from a coworker. We haven’t been using it consistently but we are going to keep working on that. Also I made yogurt in the Instant Pot and it turned out great! It’s a bit of extra work but if you eat / use yogurt frequently, it is worth the effort.
Another site which Jonathan references in his post is Budget Bytes. Having never heard of the site or the concept of eating on a budget (ok ok, well maybe I’ve heard of it, but I had given it .002 amount of thoughts in my lifetime) I was intrigued. I checked it out and tried my first recipe tonight – Autumn Medley! It was so delicious and very economical, considering I already had most of the ingredients. To make this yummyyyy dish (one pan ppl, highly underrated!) go to this place here.
I would have posted my own picture, but let’s just say Beth’s Budget Bytes pic is WAY better than mine. I really like how Beth has broken down costs by ingredient so you can compare to what you might be paying in your local supermarket relatively easily. I’ll be trying this site again in the very near future!
I’m going to be looking for even more budget grocery hacks over the next few weeks. Please comment with your best food budget ideas so we can all benefit to achieve FIRE a weeee bit sooner. Thanks for reading.
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6 Replies to “Let’s talk about Food”
The only food tip I can share is to eat the leftovers, and don’t let any food go in the garbage. I know that I personally overshop and therefore am just throwing my money away.
So true Meredith! I’m guilty of this. Especially with leftovers. And with things like fresh produce which are expensive to begin with! I hope to do better at this with more focus on meal planning.
Instant Pots are the greatest tools for eating cheaply and healthily! Great post!!
Sam….I’m TOTALLY with you there. The thing has paid for itself! Although, I have no hard numbers to back that up. Thanks for your feedback!
Besides the odd sac of potatoes, I’ve basically given up on buying fresh veggies; I’m all-in on frozen.
We always end up tossing leftover, untouched fresh veggies in the garbage and it breaks my heart. Spending $7 to $9 on a 1.5 to 2 kilogram bag of higher quality frozen ones saves us money, time, and guilt.
Our home schedules aren’t ideal either, so knowing that the vegetables will keep indefinitely (more or less) has been a game changer.
This approach obviously doesn’t work if you like to snack on raw veggies – we don’t – but, ya know, what can ya do…haha
Frozen veggies are equally healthy! I try to do a mix of both since I do enjoy a salad fairly often, however it certainly isn’t required. I try to stick to what is in season as much as possible to save $$. Thanks for your feedback!