There have been times when I’ve had smaller amounts of money than I would’ve chosen, and a growing child to feed. I do not like the term “broke!” I grew up hearing it and I do my best to not say it in references to my finances. What does one do however, when the child is returning home and all you’ve got is $20 to last a couple days. One top of that, a strong dedication to organic living. Might I add, a gluten allergy on top of that dedication. Well, this is what I’ve done.
Big hint! Buy bulk. That’s the gist. I’ll show you an example of a shopping trip from a couple weeks ago.
The total cost of this shopping trip was around $18. With this I made two different Black Eyed Pea dishes (NYE tradition), Turkey Chili, and about 3 bowls of Oatmeal. I’m used to cooking for a lot more people (Large family) so my meals typically last 2-3 days. Though it’s just my son and me for now, these dishes last for dinner, and lunch the next day. The best part, all organic, non GMO, and the meat is free range.
Last week we went grocery shopping again. We were in an even more “upscale,” i.e. very expensive neighborhood, and my son convinced me to go into this other store. It started to rain and I did not feel like getting on the bus to go across town to our regular market, so I said okay.
I budgeted $50 for this shopping trip and it was to last us about a week. I did not think about taking a picture but I can tell you what we purchased. From the butcher counter, 2 chicken leg/thigh combo, 1 lb turkey meat, 1/2 lb bacon, and 1 chorizo. We also bought a bag of organic red kidney beans (They did not have bulk), bunch of collards, 1 leek, 1 small onion, 3 yukon gold potatoes, and a small box of cinnamon. My total bill came out to $31 and some change. Beans and veggies were all organic, and the meats were free range (not sure about the chorizo however, but given the market we were in it probably was). I forgot the butter. I buy a good quality organic butter from grass fed cows. My bill would’ve been $34 had I remembered.
We’ve enjoyed several meals this week and right now I’m cooking some red beans and rice. It’s been a good foodie week.
What saves my budget is we do not eat processed foods. Though they do seem like good choices, you’re actually paying more for lower quality, high sodium foods. I do buy a lot of bulk. Because we do not have a lot of waste, I do not buy trash bags. We reuse the bags from our bulk purchases to line a small trash can.
I use several spices in my foods, such as Turmeric, Cumin, Sage, and Chili Ancho Powder. I do not buy all my spices at once. I typically purchase 1 on each trip. I often buy a small box from a brand that sells most of their organic spices for $2.99, sometimes $3.99. I’ll often buy a more large jar of cinnamon as we use a lot of it for breakfast. My spices last several months.
I cook mostly with organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil (Which I also buy in bulk). My oils last a month or two.
To be honest, I cook the majority of our meals. I buy some snacks, like organic popcorn, and some chips for my son’s school lunch. We do go out on occasion, not as much as I like, but we do.
My secret, besides buying bulk, is I trained myself to work in time to cook. I have a small business and at times work 10 -12 hour days. There are times when the meal is very simple (Rice noodle ramen and these great organic hot dogs I buy at another local market). On weekends I take my time and make more large meals that produce leftovers. We have our meatless days and I often eat large amounts of mixed greens with every meal. My eating plan is 75% plant-based and most of what I buy says “Organic” “Non GMO.” I buy local as much as possible and I space out more expensive items, like oils and spices. It’s easier than it seems, it just takes a bit of discipline.
I am very dedicated to living as organic as possible, and if a free range meat is out of my budget, we won’t have meat for a couple days. That’s okay. My meals are still very filling. It’s possible to eat organic on a tight budget, it just takes practice.
I pray what I’ve written serves you well and if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Simmering Red Beans & Rice for tonight’s dinner. I’ll warm some up for breakfast tomorrow and add an over easy egg on top with some organic mixed greens on the side. Yum!