Sunday, August 3, 2008

money money money

So I've in three posts gotten the money question twice :)

Okay here goes.

I'll start with the wheat. I buy my wheat in bulk and mill it myself. Since I bake my own bread I'm looking at a little over one dollar a loaf. Even wonderbread is more expensive than that, and wonderbread just kills your body. Now there is a large initial investment to get started with fresh milled grains. You need a grain mill (and I'll blog eventually on what ones I like and why) and you need grain. A six gallon bucket is right around fifty lbs of grain, and can be had for around 35 dollars a bucket for conventional and 45 for organic. I will spend the extra if we have it on the organic, since we do eat a loaf of bread every other day or so.

The milk I purchase is the same price as organic milk in the grocery store. So no worries there, I just get mine from the farmer.

My eggs are also from the farmer, and are a little more expensive than supermarket eggs, but they taste SO GOOD. I'm paying around 3.25 for a dozen of eggs right now.

I purchase meat in bulk. Last summer we bought 1/4 of a side of beef. The beef was fully pastured and had never been given any grain. No it wasn't organic, but the farmer just let the cows eat his unsprayed fields like nature intended. He didn't want to get certified organic because of the hassle of the government, but this beef is organic, without the title. No hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides. This was a five hundred dollar initial expense, but the meat was 2.50 a lb! We are getting amazing rib eye steaks for only 2.50 a lb. If you can buy meat in bulk it will save you a TON of money!

We did the same with chickens, but our farmer was a liar and screwed us, so I don't want to talk about my chickens LOL

The area that is the hardest for me is produce. We do use a lot of frozen veggies because organic frozen veggies are cheaper than fresh. It was so cheap and easy to do organic produce when we lived in Oakland, but here it is tough. However there are some great local farms around here that once again aren't certified organic, but don't spray their crops. There is one bio dynamic farm that I'm really excited to work with who is starting a buying club. Most places in the country have some local farms and you can find them at Local Harvest

A big way to make a dent in your food budget is to eat in season and preserve your food if possible. Tomatoes in august are a joy, but tomatoes from the supermarket in February taste awful for three times the price. So take your tomatoes in august and put them up and enjoy the yumminess in February.

But a big part of it for us is we don't do "extras" in our life. No cell phone, temp on the AC set at eighty, open windows as often as we can, driving as little as possible etc... Because we are frugal in other areas of our life we do have a bit more wiggle room on our food budget. Even with that our entire food budget for the four of us is right around five hundred dollars a month.


Michelle Stille said...

Something we do for our health and our budget is buy very few pre-packaged/boxed/caned items - ie, commercial cereals, canned beans, etc. It's cheaper and healthier to buy dried beans and rolled oats/other grains. I don't eat meat anymore, but I used to buy beef from a local farm and it was cheaper (for organic). Of course you spend a lot more preparation time this eating way but it tastes so much better. I was out of town recently and decided to buy hummus (I eat it everyday with lunch) instead of making it like I usually do, and I wish I had made it! I couldn't find any that I liked. And mine is healthier and WAYYYY cheaper.

Holly said...

Thanks for the tips, Erin! Our big thing is our garden right now. We have herbs and veggies, so we're saving a ton on that... and we can dry the herbs ourselves to last through the winter.
I'll have to check out the site for meat and see if there's a place in our area to buy it (though we don't have a very big freezer).

ale said...

I am loving this blog! you are bringing up so many issues we've been talking about and/or doing. We're having a hard time with some products here because so much is imported and we care a lot about the carbon imprint of products, but since we have no alternatives, I decided not to feel guilty about the delicious South African organic milk we drink :) Like Michelle above, we also limit pre-packaged and canned foods as much as possible, both to save, for taste and quality, and to reduce trash. We do get delicious bananas and papaya that are 100% free of pesticides and come from people's gardens.

Thank you for the great ideas and tips. Can't wait to read more.