Many of you know that Tim and I are actively trying to take steps to “go green” in various ways. We are doing it because it is good for the planet, good for our health, and in some cases (hello, cloth diapers) good for our budget!
But there are some cases where “going green” is very painful, in terms of the monetary cost. I struggled to figure out how to feed our family as much organic food as possible when we were a dual-income family, and now that we are a single-income family, I’ve been pretty much at a loss for what to do. In the past two months I have purchased very few organic items. I avoid our local Whole Foods (Greenlife) whenever possible because I get depressed looking at all the scrumptious stuff in there that I can’t afford! I’ve even had to stop buying organic milk for Tim and me so that I can keep buying it for Darah. It has been a source of sadness and guilt, but I haven’t really known what other choices I had.
I recently learned about an e-book on this very topic, put out by the wonderful blogger, Stephanie, at Keeper of the Home. Stephanie is very committed to feeding her family the very best food that she possibly can on her limited budget, and she has a variety of strategies that she employs to make it possible. Her e-book is called Real Food on a Real Budget, and I had the opportunity to review it.
Now, I’m not going to tell you everything I learned in the book, because that would take forever, but let me tell you, I learned A LOT. I consider myself a savvy person, especially when it comes to finding a good deal, but Stephanie really challenged me to think creatively in ways I hadn’t before. There are many things you can do to provide nutrient rich, whole foods that are seasonal, and to preserve those foods so that you can still enjoy them when they are out of season. Does it take hard work? You bet. Is it worth it? I’m starting to think so.
I really appreciate that Stephanie is very real about what works for her family, and is real about the fact that she DOES spend more time in the kitchen, and she DOES spend more time looking for good deals, and she DOES have to think more about making smart choices when it comes to food. This is not an effortless process. I think the truth is that I have pretty much exhausted the “effortless” or “near-effortless” ways to save money on food, and I just sort of stopped there, thinking that was all I could do. WRONG!
Now, does this mean that I’m going to do every single thing that Stephanie does for her family, and do it now? No. And she doesn’t necessarily encourage you to do that, either. What is most important is that I start somewhere, and that I change the way I think about how I get our food. I’m not about to start my own garden, simply because I’m not interested in gardening. Maybe I will be by spring, or by the spring of 2012, but I’m not now, and that’s ok. But if you are interested in starting a garden (a container garden on your patio or even several rows in your big backyard) Stephanie has some wonderful ideas and inspirations to get you started.
So what am I going to do right away? I AM interested in doing some sleuthing around town to find alternative ways to buy produce (I’m on the lookout for roadside stands and local CSA groups that are affordable). I’ve also requested some library books on canning…I think I’ll try my hand at canning one or two types of things that are relatively easy and see how it goes. Finally, I’m convinced that making my own bread is really something I should do, and that once I start, I will really enjoy it.
Buy it!: Do you struggle with affording REAL food for your family? I highly recommend Stephanie’s e-book. It is well-written and offers many wonderful ideas that can help you provide better food with the budget you have. I absolutely loved reading it, and I know you will, too! The e-book is available for $18.97 (that’s money you will make back ten times over by implementing just one or two of Stephanie’s ideas!), or you can purchase a hard copy of the book for $25.97, including shipping.
Win it!: Stephanie wants to give one lucky Stuff Parents Need reader an amazing gift: a copy of her e-book! The contest will run until November 5th at 11:59pm EST when a winner will be selected using Random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning notification before the prize is forfeited and a new winner is selected. Open to residents of the United States. Limit one entrant per household, please.
Mandatory entry: Share a tip for making the most of your grocery budget. Any tip you use will do, and it doesn’t have to be about how you buy organic or whole foods! For example: my tip would be to pick one item out of your pantry each week or so and commit to using that item up in a dish. That’s a great way to use up things that might otherwise be forgotten, and you’ll likely find a cool new recipe if you don’t have something in mind for the item! You’ll also buy less at the store because you’ve already got one thing you need at home.
1. Sponsor love: subscribe to Stephanie’s wonderful blog, The Keeper of the Home.
2. Blogger love: Subscribe to Stuff Parents Need via email or RSS (subscription buttons are on my main page if you aren’t already subscribed).
Be sure to check out my other current giveaways, found on the sidebar of my home page.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.