How To Lower Your Grocery Bill
Everyone knows I’m a big fan of The How-To. Just usually not when I write them, but this topic, this one I can cover. You disagree? You’ve seen my grocery spending? True, True. $750 not withstanding, I’ve got the principles down. How does that go again? Shop loss leaders! Buy Generic! Coupons! Have a list! Comparison Shop! Keep a price book! The Grocery Outlet! Buy in Bulk! Buy Seasonally! Preserve Food! Grow Your Own! I could put that to music and do a little jig. Or maybe write some iambic pentameter. I know it by heart.
Because I do those things. All the time. Don’t believe me? I understand. We’re still talking $750 here. Its a big number for 2 people. Even the times I’ve lowered it by a whopping $100, no one is impressed. Nor should they be. $650, also a very large number. When I ruminate on sacred cows and lowering my overhead, the grocery budget is a glaringly obvious money sinkhole. It is the beacon of overspending in my landscape of frugality. Wow. That felt really Gunslinger-ish.
Apparently, I’m still dancing that jig. Right around the point. That is, I do a lot of ‘the right things’. The things I’m willing to do. I need to acknowledge the things I’m don’t. My holdouts. Which for all the right I’m doing, the party line I’m reciting, those things that keep me at a ridiculously high high water mark. Holdouts that make $650 an accomplishment.
Eat Less Meat. Meat is expensive. Every Amy Dacyczyn lovin’ frugalite worth their rolled change knows meat should be an accompaniment, not the main attraction of any meal. Not how it works in our little corner of carnivore love. Ever since we lost all the weight, meals often look like this: Meat and a side of veggies. Pork Chops and chard. Chicken and Green Beans. Steak and Salad. Leftovers from dinner become tomorrow’s lunch. Steak and cheese wrap. Chicken Salad. Meat-centric. All of it. And good for us. We are normal BMI, low cholesterol having, active adults. Who happen to require a shit load of protein to keep our blood sugar in the black. I make concessions. We eat low or no meat meals once a week. Lentil soups. Bean and cheese enchiladas. I also bought 1/2 a cow last year. And we ate it.
Sacrifice my Morals. It’s not just the meat. It’s gotta be happy meat. Cows shouldn’t eat corn. Pigs should live in the mud. Chickens do not come from factories. I feel very strongly about this. I want to eat my animal friends. That doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to the best life they can get. A species appropriate life is better for them and better for me. More than that, its better for all of us. Within our skewed food supply, pig that lived in the dirt will cost you more than pig who lived in a sterile meat growing facility. With all the meat I need to eat, I have to be willing to pay more. A lot more. This is where I use all my best tips and tricks to get the best price possible for the product I want. Bulk Buys. Bartered eggs. Stocking up on sales. I’m not a fancy eater, but I’m still going to pay more.
I could swing right down to my local Albertsons and double coupon it up for a multi-pack of hormone laden, stressed out chicken breast. My grocery budget would begin an immediate and corresponding downward decline. That fake budget would be well within my grasp. I could harken back to my days of Mac-N-Cheese processed food consumption. And watch the scale take a leap forward equal or greater than the backwards drift of my food spending. I could. And maybe if I want to change my life, I have to. These lines in the sand are a luxury. First world problems is the term. Look at me and my concern for where my food comes from. Taking the big fat comfortable assumption that it will keep coming for granted. Only spoiled American brats like me. Corporate Servitude has made it so. I haven’t exactly resisted.
I’m telling you I could do better. I just choose not to. Currently. I’m aware that choice has a very real cost. As much as I’m aware that a compromise may be on my horizon. I’m just not sure when or if we will get to that breaking point. I’m not looking forward to it. I imagine organic crow would taste just as leathery as conventional.
Do you compromise your values for the good of your pocketbook? How? And Why?