How We Eat Organic and Still Save Money on Food

 

Today I wanted to write about something that is near and dear to our hearts, food.  We sure do love food and we also value eating good, quality food too.

 

Picture from our dinner last night

 

We like food so much that we even have it in our name :o)

 

And the cost of food can definitely be high ticket item for many families.  Unlike cutting cable or getting rid of a car, it’s one of those costs that you can minimize, but can’t get rid of altogether.

 

But have no fear, I’ve put together a short list of the ways that we have cut down our grocery bill and have actually started eating even better *eh hem organic* food while at it.

 

I’d also like to point out that we do not have a Costco membership, nor do we have an Aldi near us.  These are strategies are for anyone to utilize at any plain-old-boring super market.

 

So what’s our secret?

 

Eat Before You Go

 

First things first, and this might sound silly, but eating a meal before going to the grocery store has been killer for us.  It is extremely difficult to fight the urge to buy something when the little man in your tummy is hangry and you are surrounded by tempting goodies.  By putting some base in your belly, it’s much easier to buy only what is needed and avoid spending unnecessary money.  Not only that, but it is way easier to fight the temptation one time while at the store, rather than buy the bag of cookies and then constantly have to fight the urge to eat them once you get them home.

 

Make a List (And Check It Twice)

 

The next simple task is to make a list before you go and then stick to it.  Comb through your pantry and refrigerator to see what you need.  Then write it down and do not deviate from that list.

 

Again, when presented with temptation, it is easy to just buy (insert unnecessary object here) when you really don’t need it.

 

If you come across something that you think you need while at the store, jot it down for the next visit. If you still need it then, buy it.  If not, scratch it off the list.

 

Dollar Bins Aren’t Just at Target

 

Fortunately for us, our local grocery store has a $1 fruit and veggie bin which is the first thing that I hit when getting to the market.  Basically, they bag up the stuff that needs to sell and mark the price way down to get it off the shelf.

 

And let me tell you, this little bin is fantastic.  I’ve found everything from potatoes, mangos, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, apples, oranges, onions, eggplant, pineapple, pomegranate, and many, many more.

 

 

All for $6. Keep in mind there were 3 mangos, but 2 got eaten before the picture was taken.

 

 

It’s always a gamble as to what will be there, but that adds a little adventure into our meals.

 

In addition to these items being super cheap, we’ve also found that most of these goodies are also organic.  It’s a double win for Team Waffles.  We would never pay full price it to eat that stuff.

 

100% organic. The sticker does not lie

 

Buying On Sale and In Bulk

 

One of the other big things that we do to save money on food is only buying items that are on sale and buying in bulk. And I’m not talking that kind of bulk-size at Costco, but actually just the larger items at the regular grocery store.

 

While I scavenge the $1 fruit and veggie bin, Mr. Wow attacks the meat counter.  I always know what is on sale when he comes staggering back to the cart with 10 packs of delicious meat in his hands, does a quick drop off, and then runs back to grab more.

 

“I got some ground turkey,” he’d say with a huge smile on his face, knowing that he just scored an awesome deal.   I.e: regular price being $5.99/lb and he just loaded our cart with 3lb packs for $6.

 

“Yes you did,” I’d respond, shaking my head because I know it is way more than just “some”.

 

And I’ll add that even though we buy our meat in bulk, Mr. Wow takes pride into portioning it out as soon as we get home.  Some things like turkey, steak, and chicken get placed in bags with enough for 4 servings.  That way we have one for dinner for both of us and then enough for leftover lunches the next day.

 

Below= package from store, Above= individual portions

 

Other items, like sausage and bacon, get portioned into 2 servings that pair lovely with homemade waffles or whatever else we cook up on the weekends (and sometimes on Wednesday like when we are traveling or when a holiday falls on that day).

 

One of my favorite views

 

After the meat counter, he’ll take a look through the discount racks to pick up any staples such as olive oil, bread, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, etc that happen to be on sale.  He’ll also pick up any spices that we need, buying only the big containers since we make our own dressings and seasonings, including taco seasoning, salad dressing, peri-peri sauce, and rib rub.

 

If you happened to be at our place for our Financial Independence Day Party a few weeks ago, here’s the recipe for the rib rub everyone was raving about.

 

 

Just ask the 1500s what they thought of it. 

 

 

Usually, this whole “buying only what is on sale” thing is not an issue, since we tend to stock up and replenish our supply when it starts to run low and goes on sale again.  But one time, we dreadfully ran out of Cholula and had to go weeks without it since it never went on sale at our market.

 

Now, this is a BIG deal and if you follow us on twitter you already know how much we like it.  We put it on everything!

 

But luckily, we found a replacement on Amazon that is actually cheaper and should last us a little bit ;o)

 

So glorious!

 

Simple

 

So there you have it.  A few easy strategies that anyone can pull off at any grocery store. Simple, straightforward, cheap, and good, just the way we like it.

26 Comments

  • freddy smidlap July 18, 2018 at 5:41 am

    you like ralph’s or von’s? i’m a ralphs guy when in so cal. our big saving comes with a pot o’ beans every week (from dried) and big cuts of meat cooked in a dutch oven. pork shoulder and chuck roast and whole chickens are economical if you know what you’re doing and helps to afford the splurges like steak and salmon. i’m glad to see somebody making their own spice mix and dressings. it ain’t that hard.
    freddy smidlap recently posted…The Other End Game – Gloom and Doom of Long Term Care

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 18, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Ralphs all the way! That’s our neighborhood spot.

      Reply
  • Jay @ 5to9 Living July 18, 2018 at 5:59 am

    Making a list has been key for us. It’s easy to convince yourself you “need” something when just going through and buying off the cuff. But with a list, you need to address the question of if you really need it, and if you do then why didn’t you think of it while making the list.
    Jay @ 5to9 Living recently posted…5 benefits of shopping with a credit card

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 18, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      That’s exactly it! There’s just too many yummy and tempting options once you get to the market.

      Reply
  • My Sons Father July 18, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Getting our grocery budget under control is our biggest struggle at the moment. When we were paying off debt, we did most of these things, plus we had a cash only budget, so we couldn’t over spend.

    Now, I visit the grocery store nearly every day (because I don’t make a list and always forget things), I usually buy more then I intended (because I’m hungry, didn’t make a list, and my kids are with me and point out things they want), and my wife insists on organic. So our grocery bill has steadily climbed over the last couple of years.

    Changes are on the horizon and this post is the starting point! Thanks for sharing.
    My Sons Father recently posted…Mr. 1500 Visits the FI Laboratory

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 18, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      We were just on a family vacation and my mother and Mr.Wow went to market together and when they got back she said he was an animal. He knew what he wanted and was on a mission to get exactly that for the best price possible. We might be a little to neurotic when it comes to grocery shopping, but it works. We go once a week and stick to our plan, saving time, money, and calories. Good luck on the changes! Hopefully you can find the cheap organic stuff cause when it is full price, it can get expensive.

      Reply
  • Dads Dollars Debts July 18, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Our grocery budget is out of control…but I am okay with that. My wife makes delicious food and I take my lunch to work most days. We do want chickens so there will be less waste (they can eat most scraps). Alas, maybe we will get it under control eventually.

    Keep up the good work and the bacon above looks delicious.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 18, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      We’ve gotten our grocery budget pretty much down to a science and regardless of what we do, its usually around the same price each week. And yes that bacon pictured above is DELICIOUS!

      Reply
  • Mrs. Groovy July 18, 2018 at 7:16 am

    I just recently began paying attention to organic food and started in on buying some vegetables. It seems to me that the pricing, in general, has come down in the regular supermarkets (as opposed to Whole Foods, etc.) Are you finding that as well?

    Great talking with you on the Countdown to FI roundtable! Lots of laughs.
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…Building Groovy Ranch: Update 25

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 18, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      To be honest, we don’t buy organic food that isn’t on sale, but around here full price is just ridiculous. The CTF podcast was absolutely a blast! Hope to do it again sometime.

      Reply
  • Living Life Loving Us July 18, 2018 at 9:36 am

    We shop mostly organic and really value eating some damn good, delicious, and healthy meals everyday while keeping grocery budget in check. BUT my biggest takeaway from this is that I had no idea you could get Cholula in that size! Ordering now.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 18, 2018 at 9:16 pm

      I am so glad that I made you aware of the mega-cholula bottle. It’s a game-changer!! Thanks for stopping by LLLU!

      Reply
  • Mr. Tako July 23, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Great tips Mrs. Wow! We don’t go out of our way to eat organic, but if I can get a sale deal on something that’s organic I’ll definitely take it!
    Mr. Tako recently posted…Investing Ideas: July 2018

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 23, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      #greatmindsthinkalike

      Reply
  • Ms. Fiology July 23, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Um, shopping when I’m hungry gets me every time. Eat before you go, simple but it helps.

    Nice tips!

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 23, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Its only good if you want to buy a lot of extra food, that is prolly also unhealthy. Friends don’t let friends go to the market hungry ;o)

      Reply
  • Struggling with FIRE July 26, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I’m just starting to learn about FIRE. I came across this post because my grocery bill is more than my mortgage! I have a family of 5 (3 young kids. We meal plan for 1-2 weeks out, make a list of everything we need…stick to the list. We buy as much organic as we can, but not everything is that we buy. I’m struggling to figure out how to cut this cost down.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 28, 2018 at 7:42 am

      Thanks for stopping by! Food is definitely an area that can be hard to cut down, especially if you like good food like us. Maybe start by tracking what you are actually buying and how much money you spend per item. Then you’ll be able to see what the most expensive items you buy are and can try to cut that cost down from there. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Struggling with FIRE August 5, 2018 at 6:00 am

        Thank you for the tip, I appreciate it. My wife and I are going to be reviewing our budget in the next week or so, so this will be something we discuss.

        Reply
  • Eileen July 31, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Have been reading your blog on and off. Saving money on food is a great topic!
    We quit the rat race early, and had cut down on most frivolous stuff. The only thing left was not going out to eat as often. Luckily, I like to cook, and we can save more by shopping smarter. Who doesn’t like a good deal?

    I never buy in bulk because there’s only 2 of us and I hate to throw food away. Besides, we live on a boat, and have no room to store too much stuff. My favorite grocery store is Publix (in Florida and TN). Publix has great prices on their BOGO (buy one, get one free) specials. I check the ads online before I go. I do my Asian grocery shopping in Atlanta, about 2 hours away. Goods like rice, noodles, tofu, veggies, seafood and spices, etc are ALWAYS cheaper than American supermarkets. Kind of like Aldi’s prices. I also like Trader Joe’s, but it’s harder to find.

    As for hot sauce, we always buy Crystal’s or Louisiana’s, but after reading this, I will give Cholula a try. Have you tried Goya’s Adobo Seasonings? It’s good on everything!

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW July 31, 2018 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! I haven’t tried Goya’s yet, but will definitely keep it in mind and see if I can find it near us and on sale of course. We don’t have Publix or Aldi’s, but do have TJ’s. Problem is, it is further away, parking is a pain, and I don’t like how they wrap all their fruits and veggies in plastic (we’re trying to cut back on that). I do definitely understand not throwing food out. I actually had to stop Mr.Wow from doing that the other day. We had a ton of eggplant and he was about to throw out a few pieces. I convinced him to cook it and needless to say, we were eating eggplant parmesan leftovers for days.

      Reply
  • joseph September 14, 2018 at 2:18 am

    Hey
    Great tips wow ! Thank You, for such useful information.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW September 14, 2018 at 5:56 am

      You are welcome!

      Reply
  • Nisha November 13, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Hey,

    this is Really Awesome. Thank You, for such useful information.

    thank….

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW November 13, 2018 at 6:13 am

      You are welcome!

      Reply
  • priya patel November 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Great post! Thank You, for such useful information.

    Thank…

    Reply

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