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Old 12-25-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
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Organic grocery budget for family of 5

My main new years resolution is to reduce our grocery bill while attempting to purchase and feed my family the best quality of food possible (with the very ocasional burger and fries thrown in ) This will definitely be a work in progress and will require me to tackle my arch enemy : menu planning


I plan to buy bulk from Azure for our beans and grains, eat meat sparingly and make most of our meals vegetarian or even vegan, continue to try to grow more of our food (loving that so far!), try to reduce the amount of toiletries we "need" and basically use castille soap for just about everything from dishes to clothes to teeth. We drink mostly hemp milk (Tempt, Living Harvest) but its expensive!! So I guess I should try to make our own but a bit scared to try and have no idea how I'll fit this into the weekly routine, or how to store it.

Any ideas on what else I could do? I plan to make the changes gradually. We're already doing a lot of the above but just trying to crank it up a notch.

Also, what is a reasonable $ amount for a monthly grocery budget for a family of 5 (2 of which are under 3 y. o but I swear they eat like teenagers! )

Thank you!

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Old 12-25-2011, 01:04 PM   #2
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Re: Organic grocery budget for family of 5

Good questions! I will be following this as I am in need of the same advice!
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Old 12-25-2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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Re: Organic grocery budget for family of 5

I need some advice also
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Old 12-25-2011, 02:08 PM   #4
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Re: Organic grocery budget for family of 5

one thing that helps us eat organic cheaper is to eat local produce in season. when it is cheap buy in bulk to freeze or can.

also we recently got a costco membership & you can get 2 whole organic chickens there for what you pay for one at our local food co-op. I cook the chicken in the crock pot & use all of it (make stock w/ the bones). I can usually get 4 meals out of 1 chicken.

Also making your own bread is much cheaper than buying org bread. we have a bread maker, so it's easy to just dump everything in & set the timer.

another thing is frozen fruit & veggies in the winter are much cheaper than fresh. our local grocery store (Hannafords) has their own organic brand & we can get strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peas, corn, mixed veg, broc & green beans for $1.99 - $2.99 a bag.

also dry beans are much cheaper than canned.

monthly budget varies a lot depending on where you live b/c of length of growing season
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Old 12-25-2011, 02:38 PM   #5
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Re: Organic grocery budget for family of 5

Thank you! Do you have a recipe for chicken in the crockpot that works well? I've never done that before but since I work full time that would probably be ideal!
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:03 PM   #6
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Re: Organic grocery budget for family of 5

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Thank you! Do you have a recipe for chicken in the crockpot that works well? I've never done that before but since I work full time that would probably be ideal!

yup, I keep it simple b/c I use it in so many different recipies.

rough cut an onion or 2 into big chunks so the chunks cover the bottom of the crock pot. season the bird w/ a little salt & pepper (or whatever you want). put in the crockpot. I usually do breast side down. add 1/4 c water. put the lid on & cook on low all day.

the meat will literally fall off the bone.

after I pick all of the meat off I throw the bones skin & other unusable bits back in the crockpot w/ a carrot or 2 & some celery. fill it almost full w/ water & cook on low over night to make stock for soup. then in the morning I turn it off. drain it through cheese cloth & put the stock in the fridge.
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:23 PM   #7
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Re: Organic grocery budget for family of 5

that sounds easy enough! How long does the stock keep in the fridge?
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:54 AM   #8
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Re: Organic grocery budget for family of 5

I am a big fan of roasting chickens and then making stock. I can usually get two meals worth of meat and an several quarts of stock from one chicken. When you can get 4 or five meals out of it it takes the sting out of the $20+ pricetag!

Stock will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. What I do is freeze mine in canning jars. I use the freezer safe pint jars from Ball. I fill them to about an inch from the top and then put them in the freezer coverless until they are frozen so the expanding liquid will not make the glass break. I have heard of people canning stock too but I am skeeved out by the idea of meat-based anything canned.

The less processed the food you buy the cheaper it will so definitely buy in bulk and make as much from scratch as you can. Grains and beans are pretty inexpensive, and root vegetables and greens are the most affordable vegetables. We really only only eat salads and things likegreen beans in season. During the winter it is a lot of potatoes, carrots, potatoes, kale, canned tomatoes. The only fruit we eat out of season are blueberries (I buy 5 lb boxes and freeze them)and apples. I do "splurge" on fats and animal foods, but I'll go without before I buy conventional. Fats are the place to spend since pesticides and toxins accumulate there.

We generally eat very simply during the day - some form of eggs and bread or oatmeal for breakfast, leftovers or pb&j forlunch, popcorn or fruit for a snack - but I rotate evening meals about bi-weekly so we have some variety.

I think your budget is going to depend on where you are. Here in Maine I spend about $200 a week for a family of five. I could easily spend a lot more if I had it. I could probably spend half as much if I didn't insist on non factory farmed meat and milk and so one. We have great local/organic food but even with the above tips it is expensive.

People like to talk about how organics can be affordable to encourage new consumers but I think the simple truth is quality food isn't cheap. The companies making crap food use ingredients produced with heavy government subsidies. Small, local, organic growers don't get that money so you won't see it reflected in their prices.
Also, I think if diet, food production, and food independence are important to you you really have to shift your ideas about what percentage of your income goes towards food. We spend between 20 and 25% of our income on food, which seems crazy even to me. We have excluded a lot typical lifestyle practices (we never eat out, we never throw food away, I never impulse buy, we don't have cable televison, we buy almost everything used) to be able to allocate that much of our budget to food. It is a very non developed nation/21st century viewpoint but I think it's really important to discuss.
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SageR
I am a big fan of roasting chickens and then making stock. I can usually get two meals worth of meat and an several quarts of stock from one chicken. When you can get 4 or five meals out of it it takes the sting out of the $20+ pricetag!

Stock will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. What I do is freeze mine in canning jars. I use the freezer safe pint jars from Ball. I fill them to about an inch from the top and then put them in the freezer coverless until they are frozen so the expanding liquid will not make the glass break. I have heard of people canning stock too but I am skeeved out by the idea of meat-based anything canned.

The less processed the food you buy the cheaper it will so definitely buy in bulk and make as much from scratch as you can. Grains and beans are pretty inexpensive, and root vegetables and greens are the most affordable vegetables. We really only only eat salads and things likegreen beans in season. During the winter it is a lot of potatoes, carrots, potatoes, kale, canned tomatoes. The only fruit we eat out of season are blueberries (I buy 5 lb boxes and freeze them)and apples. I do "splurge" on fats and animal foods, but I'll go without before I buy conventional. Fats are the place to spend since pesticides and toxins accumulate there.

We generally eat very simply during the day - some form of eggs and bread or oatmeal for breakfast, leftovers or pb&j forlunch, popcorn or fruit for a snack - but I rotate evening meals about bi-weekly so we have some variety.

I think your budget is going to depend on where you are. Here in Maine I spend about $200 a week for a family of five. I could easily spend a lot more if I had it. I could probably spend half as much if I didn't insist on non factory farmed meat and milk and so one. We have great local/organic food but even with the above tips it is expensive.

People like to talk about how organics can be affordable to encourage new consumers but I think the simple truth is quality food isn't cheap. The companies making crap food use ingredients produced with heavy government subsidies. Small, local, organic growers don't get that money so you won't see it reflected in their prices.
Also, I think if diet, food production, and food independence are important to you you really have to shift your ideas about what percentage of your income goes towards food. We spend between 20 and 25% of our income on food, which seems crazy even to me. We have excluded a lot typical lifestyle practices (we never eat out, we never throw food away, I never impulse buy, we don't have cable televison, we buy almost everything used) to be able to allocate that much of our budget to food. It is a very non developed nation/21st century viewpoint but I think it's really important to discuss.
We eat mainly whole foods and we still keep our budget to 250-400 a month. We buy a cow once a year from a local farmer. We trade chicken and eggs from same farmer for the things i get free or almost free with coupons. We cann almost all of our fruits and veggies from either our garden or the farmers market. I buy organic milk with coupons and sales and then freeze it. I make all our pasta,breads etc. So i guess i just dont agree it has to be expensive if you have the time to invest.
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:33 PM   #10
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Re: Organic grocery budget for family of 5

Depends on your location. For a family of 6 we spend about $700 a month. Its all organic, we are veggie so we don't buy meat. Our area is super spendy for organic's. We tried the local organic coop but they charged a 10% fee on every order.
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