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Combating the Grocery Budget…still

By Julie Norman

This is like a never-ending topic! Today on my lunch break I was re-reading some posts from the 100daysofrealfood website.  After the basic 100 Days of Real Food challenge they did 100 Days of Real Food on a budget. On Day 3 the author says, "Since everyone obviously knows the pros of “budgeting” I thought I would share some of the cons I have observed so far…

You can’t stock up or buy things on an impulse (just in case you might need them) without going over budget, which means you have to go to the store more often.
You may end up with a lot less variety in your diet since you have to stick to the cheap stuff (like the lovely banana pictured above).
You might be forced to become a vegetarian."  (

She's exactly right and this is where I fail every time!  (Though I just added up everything for July and it turns out I only spent an average of $105 a week!).  It's definitely hard, if you have a budget, to take advantage of sales on 32 oz blocks of mozarella cheese.  You know by looking at the unit price that it's cheaper overall, but you also know it's going to kill that $100 budget for the week.  Usually I just remind myself that in the long run I'm still saving money even if during this particular week it doesn't seem like it. 

It's the same with the clearance bins.  If I find tuna steaks, alaskan salmon or any kind of scallops (farm raised scallops are ok in case you didn't know) for 50% off, I'm buying them. I'm BUYING THEM. Fish is great for you and really you can't beat that price. I take these home (along with 50% or 30% off organic chicken tenders, breasts, thighs, etc) and put them in the freezer.

But back to the budget.  Last month I managed one week where I only spent $85 and that's what saved me for the month.  If anything saves me this month it'll be that my zucchini, tomatoes and such are all coming in in the backyard.  I may not need to buy much produce! (That's the other place I spend all the money). 

So what ways do you have of working on your grocery budget?  What things are non-negotiable and what could you do without?


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Cheese is non-negotiable in our house. We don’t eat much meat (my mom and husband will have it with tacos or the like), so I feel it’s OK to spend extra on good cheese. Cooking vegetarian has saved us bunches. When we did eat a lot of meat, we would buy a quarter of a cow from local ranchers. It’s so much better and way, way cheaper than grocery store meat (I can’t even stand the smell of grocery story hamburger anymore).

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