Budgets have a bad reputation for being boring but it seems these ladies who contributed to part one made them interesting! Thanks for leaving comments with your own tips and suggestions for how to put nourishing food on the table and keep some money in the bank at the same time.
Today I have pleasure in bringing you budget bliss from two of the loveliest wholefoodie mamas in blog town, Jay who blogs at and the trees and Steph who blogs at this brown wren.
The series has grown to 3 parts with Natalie from the Little Gnomes Home and Megan from My Wholefood Romance still to come later in the week.
Let's get down to business:
How many mouths do you feed in your house? Adults? Children?
2 adults and 2-3 children (a 3 year old, a 6 year old and 4 year old neighbour who is over everyday and definitely eats her fair share of food)
What percentage of the food you buy is organic? Very high, as much as we can, maybe 95%, we also factor in other things like sustainability, local, humane choice, or even spray free. Everything we buy has had a conscious thought attached to it.
What would be your average weekly spend on food? $150-$200
What are your top 3 tips on saving money on food?
1. Buy in bulk, from a co-op or health food shop or do a group bulk order from an online store, it is a lot cheaper.
2. we are lucky enough to have some great growers markets around and the Bello food box, which both help to keep the food budget down, providing local, direct from the farmer, organic, biodynamic, and at worse spray free fruit and vegetables. Look around your area, there are so many of these popping up
3. No waste, use everything you buy and if something goes a bit dodgy use it for some stock or for fruit a compote (depending on level of dodginess). This level of awareness of where your food goes ensures everything is treasured and used before buying more.
To those who say eating wholefood is expensive what would you say?
Try it for yourself and you will see, not only is it healthier, you also end up (usually) with more than you think (perfect for freezing). Do a meal plan, if you are on a budget, there are so many meals that you can make that use wholefoods and produces a whole (ha ha) lot of food, just do a little research. Sure organic free range 'happy' meat is more expensive than your regular factory farmed poor squashed and abused animals but that just means you eat it less and have more focus, intent and thanks when you do eat it. There are other products that are often used in wholefood cooking, ingredients like coconut oil, rapadura sugar, cacao, organic dried fruit and nuts, that may seem a bit pricier but they do last quite a long time (especially when buying in bulk) and the benefits to the body, to me is worth it. But these are the choices that we make.
There are no rules to eating wholefood, the best you can do is start with what is manageable and affordable to you and your budget and then work up from there. And then hopefully you will realise how beneficial and delicious it is eating whole food, your body will thank you and if done with sustainability in mind, so will our beautiful planet.
I feed four mouths - myself and my beloved and our two babies (4 and 18 months) although it often feels like many more such is the amazing ability of my people (especially the little ones) to inhale food.
Most of our fruit and veg is organic and purchased online through homefreshorganics.com.au as well as milk, butter, cream and sour cream (we love Barrambah), eggs and now meat. We have only made this switch to eat only organic meat in the last little while as it can be quite expensive and required a shift in the way we prepared and ate it. We have started to buy our flours, grains and pulses in bulk at a local organic grocer (flannerys.com.au and wrayorganics.com.ay).
Our average food spend would be about $150. We have really returned to the earth with our eating and buy very little canned or packaged items.
Top 3 tips:
1) Buying meat on the bone (roasts etc.) and making it stretch to three meals. An organic, free range roast chicken is slow cooked through the day with the juices retained to make a gorgeous gravy with wine and cornflour and is served with warm salads and roasted vegies. I serve up the portions and then we're more likely to have seconds of salads rather than pick away at the chicken. Every sliver of meat is then picked off the carcass and put aside for perhaps chicken and black bean burritos one night with homemade tortillas, guacamole and sour cream and then the small amount left is sprinkled on spelt pizzas with roast pumpkin, spinach and feta. The bones are all tossed into a large container in the freezer ready for stock making....and then there's soup!
2) Meal planning has made a huge difference to the amount of food we waste. Our waste is now minimal to nil! I plan a weekly menu and a shopping list is created from this. Our fruit and vegie order is delivered on Friday afternoon so on Friday morning I empty the contents of the crisper and either make a soup using our homemade stock or perhaps a bolognaise sauce by grating up any leftover veg in the food processor along with garlic and onions and cooking this slowly in butter and oil I then add either mince or lentils and chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and a good splosh of masala or port. The vegies not only impart their delicious flavours and nutrients but bulk out the meal so I can freeze half for another night.
3) Making things from scratch saves us oodles of money. Any bickies or treats come out of our kitchen and packaged items are rare. Creating a "nude" lunchbox by initially investing in some fabulous stainless steel containers saves a lot on packaging also. I have also started cooking my own beans and freezing these in cup portions. A quick dinner is only a few minutes away when I can reach for these and one bag of dried beans (which makes many cups) is the same price as one can. We use some form of pulse almost every night for their filing protein and for their ability to make a meal go further. We occasionally have a weekend cook up where my beloved and I take turns in the kitchen to set aside batches of tortillas and spelt pizza bases for the freezer along with stewed fruits and compotes to have as desserts and snacks with yoghurt (usually the fruit on it's last legs from the fruit and vegie order). Keeping one step ahead seems to help with last minute dashes to the shops and budget blowouts.
Yes wholefoods are more expensive compared to their more refined alternatives but if there is a shift in the way we prepare and eat food it is more than manageable. We are all large eaters and manage to fill our bodies with nutrient dense, ethically produced food on one wage. I have really looked to the past to see how I can stretch meals and make the most of every single morsel we buy. Our grandparents had some wonderfully frugal ways!
How good does all that sound?! who said budgets were boring.
THANK YOU Jay and Steph for sharing in your honest and heartfelt ways. I feel inspired, how about you dear readers? What do you have to add? Tell us what you do to make ends meet even if you think it is basic or obvious, it may be just the answer someone else is looking for. Look out for part 3 later in the week.