(the following tips are my own and not from the book pictured above)
1. Participate in a CSA. And use ALL of it.
Many people balk at the sight of the up-front costs, but we’ve found it is a deal if you can eat all of it. It does take some preparation and planning (I’ll be posting about how we do it this CSA season starting when our CSA starts next week). Also, take advantage of any U-pick opportunities, and if you notice people at pick-up not taking their full share (some people don’t like kale, for example), ask if you can have their unwanted vegetables. Some CSAs also offer working shares, where you receive a discount for working on the farm. Sometimes it’s not just field work, either – they might need marketing help, accounting, etc. Never hurts to ask, especially if you have more time than money.
2. Get a herdshare and learn to make home dairy.
Again, raw milk might seem more expensive per gallon, but once you calculate everything you can make from it (cream, butter, yogurt, the list is endless) the price doesn’t seem so bad. Now that our milk share quantity is at its peak season, I’ll be posting some how-tos over the next few weeks.
3. Find a source for whole grains and other bulk items.
This might take some research. For me, I discovered that our local health food store has the best prices. There are a few local mills I want to check into, too, but for now the convenience can’t be beat.
4. Find someone who has their own chickens.
Eggs are a great source of protein, and inexpensive when compared to meat. For the best deal on free range organic eggs, find someone who has their own chickens and is looking for a way to get rid of some of their eggs. They might be willing to give you a deal or barter in exchange for services.
5. Try not to eat anything you can’t get from the above sources.
Funny thing, when I go to a regular grocery store I always end up with things not on my list. Planning my meals around the vegetables, eggs, milk, I get from the above sources and avoiding the store as much as possible really helps with that.
6. Buy in season.
Usually the first few asparagus and strawberries command a premium price at the farmer’s market. If you can be patient, the prices will fall as everyone else begins to get inundated at peak harvest time.
7. Learn how to preserve food.
That way, you can buy when prices are lowest and stock up. Preserving doesn’t always mean canning, either – there are many fruits and vegetables that you can freeze, and as long as you have the freezer space it’s super fast and easy.
8. Grow your own.
Easier said than done, I know. At least try some potted herbs and container plants. I’m trying bag gardening for the first time this year. I’ll let you know how it goes.
9. Share with others.
This rule applies for lots of things. No pressure canner? Food dehydrator? Ask around, I’m sure someone will be willing to let you borrow theirs. Also if you can find people to “go in” with you on large bulk purchases you can often get a discount. Share a cow, for example.
10. Buy the book Real Food on a Real Budget (affiliate link)
This post shared at Frugal Friday
#3…neighbor friend grinds flour for me at her cost
#4….I have my own chickens!!!
#5…triple check! (love me my Costco, tho!)
#6…OUCH! No watermelon in July???
#7…check…I can and freeze
#8…check…potatoes, tomatoes, arugula, lettuce, beets, cukes, herbs, etc
#9…check…shared a whole, grass-fed cow with 3 others, netting us 119# of beef
#10…I WANT this book, so I will enter
Doing what I can with what I have! That’s my motto!
.-= cindy50.blogspot.com/´s last blog ..GOODBYE THOMAS’, HELLO HOMEMADE! =-.
The Local Cook
Cindy, you are my inspiration!
Great tips! I’m hoping to start making my own yogurt. That’s just a small thing, but it should help with the quality of the yogurt we eat (and we eat a lot of it!) and with the cost.
And we’ve just started going to a produce stand that sells locally grown produce. It’s cheaper and the fruit and veggies taste better–it’s a no-brainer!
Another thing I figured out is that sometimes you can get farmers market produce for a bit cheaper still if you:
(1) go on a rainy day when they’re not expecting a big turnout, and buy in bulk
(2) find a farmer who has “seconds” for sale (I recently bought three trays of slightly bruised but perfectly delicious peaches for a song)
These options won’t always be available but it NEVER hurts to ask!
.-= melissa´s last blog ..disconnect =-.
Can’t wait to see your tips for home dairy! I’ve been starting to experiment with cheeses but definitely want to try making yogurt and butter.
.-= Sarah´s last blog ..Bulgar & Spinach Soup with a Kick =-.
Great tips. I really need to sign up for a CSA and learn to preserve. My freezer is tiny, unfortunately.
we found that extending our list of standby hearty vegetarian meals really helped keep the budget in check-learning new ways to use beans and eggs has really helped.
we’ve really made a difference is through our garden-our entire yard (thanks to no trees to slow them down) is full of herbs and veggies.
but my best extender is to buy whole chickens instead of chicken pieces. i start by roasting a chicken, then the leftover chicken gets turned into a salad or stir fry or… then the carcass (yes, it’s true!) gets cooked for hours for a chicken soup with lots of veggies. We can get 8-10 portions from a full chicken, which is cheaper than the 4 portions of chicken breast by a long shot!
.-= holly´s last blog ..don’t miss the moments =-.
Just joined a CSA for the first time. I ordered half a share of vegetables, fruit and eggs to play it safe. Recently, I learned to chop up a whole chicken, and the money saved went toward the purchase of a bottle of wine. Currently, I’m in the process of growing my own herb garden — that saves money, too!
Lynn from For Love or Funny
I’m anxious to join a CSA. Where can I find one? (Stopping by from SITS)
.-= Lynn from For Love or Funny´s last blog ..What’s going on while you sleep? =-.
The Local Cook
You can start by checking localharvest.org , then it’s a matter of asking around or visiting your farmer’s market. Good luck!
I make my own milk and water kefir. And want to learn to make cheese.
Yeah! We are already doing most of your list! I have been canning for a number of years now, but am wanting to learn more about lacto-fermentation for some produce. Still looking for the cow share, though.
Great tips, we are always trying to eat more local. We are doing a trial month with a local CSA and I wish we could continue it. But it is expensive and we don’t have the money right now. We didn’t find out about it until May, so we couldn’t save ahead of time. But I am already planning to make sure we have the money for next year’s CSA.
I’ve found that meal planning can really help. It gets me to use the fresh veggies I buy before they go bad and to figure out how much I’m really eating, which allows me to figure out quantities when purchasing. So far I only shop at the farmer’s market. I’ve thought about participating in a CSA, but all the VSA’s in my area are sized for families, not singles and I can’t find anyone to go halfsies with me.
We start with a envelope filled with cash for our grocery budget for the month. We buy mainly raw milk from a local farmer, are memebers of a CSA, buy in bulk, buy mainly organic or at least hormone and antibiotic free meat, and even have a few treats all for $350 per month!
It impressed me. If you can do a youtube video for it. That would be nicer. 🙂
The Local Cook
coincidentally, I am working on doing some videos! Stay tuned . . .