Budget issues

As I’ve been researching the primal diet, I’ve realized that I’m not the only one who has budget issues to deal with. I love everything about food; I’d love to just shop without concern for what the bill will be, but that’s not possible at this point in my life.

I’ve noticed that the standard response to this is along the lines of, “Stop buying processed crap, and you’ll have money to buy pastured meat and eggs!” But it isn’t as simple as this. We already purchase minimal amounts of processed food; we’ve been making our own bread for several months and cook virtually 100% of our meals at home.¬†Generally, the only processed foods we buy are condiments, dairy, and some processed breads like pitas and tortillas. (Also canned beans and tomatoes, if you consider those processed. I don’t.) So we’ll definitely be saving some money on not buying any bread products (or flour, yeast, etc.) but I’m not sure the savings will be quite as substantial as they’d need to be to buy the amount of meat that seems to be required.

The fact is that we almost always eat at least one or two legume-based meals a week; and I don’t know if we can afford to replace those with meat. At play is the larger moral issue that I don’t know if I WANT to consume that much meat anyway. At least I’m good with eggs.

There are some great ways to save money on good quality meat, but the ones I’m aware of require large initial investments (purchasing a meat subscription or even a value/bulk pack at the butcher) – almost always more than one week’s groceries. Neither of those is an option for me right now. I’m committed to not buying meat at the grocery store, where it’s cheaper, but you get what you pay for and I practically have nightmares about how those animals are raised. So, I think unless I can afford good meat, I won’t buy it. It’s a well-known fact that the initial investment for bulk products is a hurdle to eating good food on a budget. (I’m not saying we live in poverty, I’m just saying it’s a factor.)

But in the spirit of fairness, in addition to not buying flour/yeast/baked bread items, there are some ways I think we will save money. Here’s a few:

  • I currently use a lot of milk in baking, so I won’t be buying as much milk as usual
  • We can use eggs as a protein more often
  • Once we hit berry season, try to do lots of u-pick and freeze lots of berries instead of buying them at the store
  • I don’t buy a ton of them, but I’ll be buying fewer condiments because of added sugar or vegetable oils

Anyway, all of this is not to make excuses but to explain why I think it will be challenging. But a good challenge, I think. Speaking of which… next up, seeing challenges as opportunities.

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