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Primal on a Budget: 10 Tips

February 25, 2011

piggy-bank
Photo by alancleaver_2000

Eating primal / paleo doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are 10 ways to save money:

1. Cook your own food.

Cook completely from scratch to save the most. Batch cook for additional money and time savings. Use the money you save from eating out and buying prepared foods towards higher quality ingredients.

2. Make your own ingredients.

Whether you make your own ghee or stock, or grow some of your own vegetables, it’ll usually end up being higher quality for the same price or less than you’d buy it in-store.

3. Buy directly from the source.

Befriend your local farmers. Sign up for a weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. If you can’t buy small enough portions from farmers, then…

4. Buy in bulk.

For meat, buy a whole or a large portion of an animal. Too much meat for your freezer? Buy with friends/neighbours and divvy it up (e.g. cowpool) or find a local meat share.

For non-perishables, be sure to stock up your pantry when there’s a good sale.

Seek out deals on things you consume in large quantities. Coconut oil can be bought by the gallon online.

For even bigger savings when buying in bulk….

5. Buy in season and freeze.

Berries can be pricey out of season. Freeze them while they’re in season, and you’re set for the year. Same with wild salmon, and anything else that’s seasonal and can be frozen (some foods will keep better or longer than others).

6. Check out regular grocery stores first.

They’ll have a smaller natural/organic selection, but the cheaper prices make it a worthwhile stop before heading to your favourite natural food store.

7. Grocery shop once a week.

This is easier to do if you’re batch cooking. A little bit of planning goes a long way. The more you frequent the grocery store, the more you’ll probably end up buying (and not necessarily eating).

8.  Eat nose-to-tail.

Or at least check out the less popular cuts of meat. Depending where you shop, some meat may be cheaper simply because it’s considered less desirable by the average shopper. These meats can often actually be more nutritious and flavourful than the standard cuts (e.g. organ meats).

9. Shop the perimeter.

The center of the store is chockfull of processed, packaged goods, most of which you can do without.

10. Sometimes it’s about what you don’t buy.

Cutting out grains, vegetable oils, sugars, and processed foods, and reducing fruit and dairy (or eliminating it altogether) can trim the grocery bill nicely, leaving more room in the budget for things such as higher quality meats and fats.

How do you make your healthy diet more affordable?

Shared with Food Renegade , and Healthy Home Economist and Real Food Wednesday.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah June 10, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Garden! Even Just an herb garden. Freeze, dry and preserve everything.

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[email protected] June 10, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Great suggestion! Buying herbs every week can really add up…

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Meagan June 10, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Great ideas. This stuff is so basic but lots of people don’t know how to eat well on a budget. Thanks for sharing! I LOVE the piggy picture. Adorable!

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[email protected] June 10, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Thanks! It really is basic. Unfortunately most people seem to think that eating healthy must break the bank. Not so!

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Julie June 17, 2011 at 3:19 PM

I like your site. We have been eating this way for about one month and I find that we just do not waste food anymore. This has certainly saved money. I used to overbuy and stuff my fridge with items that would get overlooked and then go bad–now I feel so much more respect for food and what it can do for my body that purchases, way of storage, and the planning of meals have taken on much more meaning than before.

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[email protected] June 17, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Thanks, Julie! I can totally identify with previously wasting food – usually vegetables that I would overzealously stock up on, only to have them go bad. But now that I plan all my meals and batch cook, everything gets used up. Saves money, and the guilt-trip that comes along with wasting food.

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