How do YOU save money eating TFs? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-12-2011, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm really struggling a bit, but finding ways to get TFs on a VERY tight budget. I see lots of threads in other places on couponing, using lots of pasta and white bread to extend meals, etc. Obviously, those things don't really work much for us... Here are ways that I think I am saving money, but I'd LOVE more advice (love a nice long thread on savings tips):


  • Buy whole or half grass-fed animals directly from the farmer, including organs, glands, and marrow bones
  • In March I scanned CL for low-cost maple syrup and bought in bulk. $40/gallon (it's $32/quart in stores/farmer's market!)
  • I am trading some things I have and don't need for raw honey. When I can't trade I get it from the Farmer's Market (more in next bullet)
  • I receive both WIC and FS benefits. Our Farmer's Market just began working with Double-up Food Bucks. They give you a match on your FS benefits up to $20 per visit. I buy my fruit/veggies and honey there (and a new fish vendor is coming soon!). I use my WIC to buy organic produce at the supermarket. Pretty much the rest of the WIC benefits are useless to us, but we do get some of the dry goods (Tuna, Oatmeal, Tortillas) and store them. We use the oatmeal in baths, too.
  • This year I plan to buy fruits and veggies in bulk and can/freeze as much as possible. Will ferment pickles and presumably I can store them in the basement unrefrigerated, right?
  • Basically buying in bulk is economical whenever we can. I have 20 lb bags of sugar from Sams for my water kefir and kombucha, 20 lb bags of Lundberg brown rice from HFS w/20% off store coupon and $5 reward certificate, etc.
  • Joined a CSA this spring. $285 for the season, enough veggies for 2 (even though there are 8 of us) and a dozen eggs a week. Also get pastured eggs from local farms for $2.50/doz
  • Signed up with a raw goat milk share program (dairy allergic) for a small buy-in and $6/gallon.
  • Started a container garden on the patio (no back yard) for herbs. Also growing some pie pumpkins, pickle cucs, and strawberries. Also hopefully my potted dwarf fruit trees will fruit this year. Plum, peach, apple, and cherry.


That's all I've got. Flood me with ideas!






FAs, co-sleeping, babywearing, extended nursing, positive parenting, homeschooler

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#2 of 7 Old 06-12-2011, 10:07 PM
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Learn to fish and hunt. All of our protein needs are covered that way, at a very extreme cost saving to us.
Even suckers if they are carefully scaled first, can be excellent eating, and I know they are easy to get a hold of in MI.

Are you able to join a food buying club? You can then choose a different item each month to buy in super large quantity.

Re the pickles. The temp for storage does need to be around 40 degrees.
Any warmer and they will over ferment and go off.
Hunt around for a used fridge to store all your ferments in.
We have an apartment sized one that we will be loading up with all our kraut this fall.

I would normally suggest chickens, but your egg prices are excellent!

Can you still take all the WIC benefits, and trade the unneeded items with a neighbor?

I am not a vegetable. I feed myself accordingly love.gif

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#3 of 7 Old 06-13-2011, 09:17 PM
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I save a lot of money when I buy things that don't come in packages - but I do shop at Whole Foods. I know that at a conventional grocery store, it's actually more cost effective to buy as much as possible in packages, it seems!


You seem to be doing a ton of stuff already that really helps. At the CSA near our house, you can cut the cost of your share nearly in half by volunteering X number of hours per season; comes out to something like 2 hours per week, but you can do one full Saturday three times per season to make up that amount. Does your CSA offer something similar?


I, as you must also, spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I think that cuts our costs down. I make almost every single thing we eat from scratch. I think some things are more expensive this way, where as many other things are cheaper this way - so perhaps it evens out??


I would also scour Craigslist for people selling things - I found my 'egg lady' on Craigslist as well as a family that has pasture raised beef, chicken and pork at incredible prices ($4 per pound on any beef cuts, $3 per pound on whole chickens and $5 per pound on any pork cuts). 


Also, if there is a Weston Price or Tradition Foods meetup ( near you, you may think of going and chatting with the local foodies to get ideas from them as to where to get good deals.

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#4 of 7 Old 06-22-2011, 06:02 PM
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Do you know anyone with a good amount of property or garden space?

Maybe you could put some plants in someones garden that they already water, you tend to all the plants (theirs and yours) by pulling weeds and such, and you harvest for all. You take your food home and leave theirs for them.


We save a little by buying 1/2 and 1/4 animals, trading garden items with my parents, I also help my parents around their place and (my dad hunts) I take home meat for trade. Trade seems to be advantageous for all.

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#5 of 7 Old 10-03-2011, 04:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Wanted to update this thread. Looks like we may be buying a place in the country with a few acres. Our own homestead farm. If so, we can raise our own sheep for milk, chickens for eggs, and eventually feeder beef and pork. Not to mention a great garden and room to hunt. We're all getting a little excited. Wish us luck!

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#6 of 7 Old 11-13-2011, 01:58 PM
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Good luck!  I'm subbing to this thread all the same, just in case folks think of more ideas and post them.


I like the idea of searching Craigslist for food sources -- I just now found a source for grass-fed beef in my area by doing just that!  Also a potential source of eggs (we get some through my CSA, but not enough to get us through the week) for a reasonable price.

Mama to Munchkin  and Chickadee ...and co-parent to 3 additional bundles of energy!
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#7 of 7 Old 11-15-2011, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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FYI, not really going to help anyone here (unless you're in mid-MI), but I was in a pawn shop and got into a discussion about facial twitches being a sign of a Magnesium deficiency and that mag is a natural muscle relaxant, etc. Then he asked me if I had any other natural tips (and BOY DO I!) and I mentioned raw honey before bed for melatonin. Then one of his employees piped in with a comment on maple syrup. I said, "Yeah, I found this supplier and bought in bulk." He said, "I'll be you paid about 50/gallon, right?" I said yes and he said he's just getting into syrup and would sell me 5 gallons for $150! I asked if it was because it was off-season, but he said no, he's just getting into it and he would sell it at that price always to me. I told him he had a customer for life. I picked up my first 5 gal bucket last week, which will hopefully last me 'til the next season in March or so (with 5 kids and grandma, and using it as our sweetener of choice in most things, plus maple candy, we go through a lot).


I do hope to have sugar maples on our future property that I can tap myself, like we did when I was a kid, but who knows...


So, just goes to show you never know where you'll find the little farmers (or tree tappers, in this case).

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