I disagree, I think it is more expensive to buy processed food. When we bought processed just for the 2 of us before the baby, we spent about $450 a month. Now for the three of us (with 2 year old toddler) we spend $200 a month and I make everything from scratch except for one package of frozen dumplings that I buy for when I don't have time to cook. We eat modestly, enough to fill us but not overeat.
We cut down our shopping to just once every three weeks, that seems to have helped. I always make a list and we don't buy things not on the list. I never use coupons. We buy about 60-70% organic food. I do all our food shopping at Trader Joe's (don't know if you have one in the area). I love their steady low prices and the fact that they are smaller, I don't have to sweat running across an entire grocery store. Their store brand prices for organic are really low compared to others. I'll send you a PM with a link to my shopping list and receipt, maybe it will help :)
Oh, by the way, for meat I buy 3 packages of drumsticks (6 count each, no antibiotics) at $1.29/lb. We eat one package per week. That saves a lot. for other meat I get one package ground turkey for soup (meatballs), and occasionally a whole organic chicken if we're having guests. We then eat the chicken leftovers after we have guests on the weekend. That's all we eat for meat. I would rather eat little but good quality than a lot of meat from sick animals. I make a big pot of soup once a week and we eat that the whole week for lunch.
Absolutely hate going to Walmart... but they ARE cheaper than anywhere except Aldi's around here. I went to Harris Teeter this month and whoa. whoa. I did save by opening a VIC card and buying things on mark down, but geez oh petes. We have an Aldi's but it is sooooo annoying to get to for some reason! I dread going in there... it's terrible. Thankfully we are having a brand new Food Lion built less than a mile away and they are great for store brands and coupons! Im praying that I can really start using coupons this next month to save more on our grocery bill. $100 a week for 3 people (one of which is a 2 yr old! ) is too much!!!!! I looked into the local CSA and it was super expensive and not worth it. The only thing I haven't tried is going to the Farmer's Market. It's hard to get DH to get up on a Saturday with me to go and I hate going to places like that by myself . If only we didn't eat meat.....
Check out if you have bountifulbaskets.org in your area. Similar to what Starrmama suggests for produce only co-op. If they aren't in your town, but maybe nearby you can start your own site in your town. You make a $15 contribution and get $35-50 worth of fresh fruit/fresh veggies. Ours runs only every two weeks, but with my two sons and myself we usually just eat up the offering before the next one comes and we are big fruit/veg eaters. We volunteer also (takes about 1 hour) and each volunteer gets to take home an additional 'large' item (pineapple, acorn squash, cabbage, etc.) or two small (bananas, apples, turnips, etc.) items for volunteering. You don't get to pick what you get, but we've never been disappointed. It's all regular, first quality produce you'd buy at the store. We are always excited to see what's in our basket and find a recipe for it if it's something we don't normally buy, or we got a ton of something. Some towns even have organic offering for $25 instead of the $15. Although every week we've had at least one or two of our items in regular baskets be organic too :) Just can't say enough good about this co-op!
~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister
Livin' in the sticks with my chicks and lovin' it!
2014: 4/52 projects 0/2014 things 0/52 books
On my sources:
Mountain Rose Herbs I already mentioned for the coconut oil. Their price actually went up, so I just bought the latest 5 gal of coconut oil yesterday from here with the 10% off for new customers: http://www.naturesapproved.com/shop/product_view.asp?id=845328&StoreID=DED66C93AF6E45488DF43C733A64B7F1&private_product=1 I buy some herbs/spices from Mountain Rose still though. Black tea, Arrowroot powder, Horsetail and Oatstraw, etc.
The stevia I have been getting lately is KAL brand from here: http://www.valuenutrition.com/ Value Nutrition has great prices, but they are slower than molasses. I only keep shopping there because they have a few of my favorite items for cheaper than anywhere else and free shipping if you order enough... but it takes weeks, not days, for an order to arrive from them.
Almonds if anyone is interested in those, are from Bill Grisson, in 10 lb increments with shipping included. $5 per pound. firstname.lastname@example.org
Other money saving things we do for toiletries/personal care is that we rarely buy toilet paper because we use family cloth. I think it saves in the long run. Also, I just got an Eco Wash Ball that's supposed to cean laundry without detergent so now I'll only be using our Charlie's on the diper load since I'm not sure I trust the wash ball with that... I wash hair now with baking soda/apple cider vinegar, and just once a week. My deodorant is Everclear with a few drops of essential oil and baking soda. We rarely buy napkins or paper towels and use a lot less kleenex now that I have cloth substitutes for all those.
If you are eating a lot of meat and dairy and having to avoid rice and pasta, then I don't think $150 is actually too over the top. Our family of three eats (and gets household supplies) for about $110-$120/week (we always eat out on Fridays) and that includes farmers' market organics. We buy large blocks of cheese at Costco and rarely cook meat.
It looks like you eat a lot of spaghetti. How about growing your own basil and making pesto for the summer for spaghetti and pizzas? You can make it with pumpkin seeds instead of ridiculously expensive pine nuts.
This is our situation also. We buy alot from Polyface (whose prices have gone up since last year btw) and at local farmers markets. Even for what we do buy at the grocery store there aren't usually coupons available (if only I could get my hands on coupons for things like Kerrygold butter and coconut oil!). My attempts to lower our food costs are currently centered around growing more of our own food and becoming better at meal planning to avoid waste and allow for some bulk buying.