If you have not noticed the rise in the cost of food in the last few years you are probably not the one doing the grocery shopping for your household! I have been asked a few times where I shop for real food at the best price. (And if you ask I will try to post a reply because I think it is much more fun to have a “conversation.”)
Before I get into the specifics of what I buy where I thought that I should first explain how I decide what to buy where. There are usually four factors that I think about when buying food: Budget, Diet, Geography and Methods of Farming. The weight of importance that I put on these four categories may be completely different than that of my neighbors. I am sharing my thought process not to convince anyone to think this way, but because I think that it is important to know why I shop the way that I do before I share how I shop for our family.
Diet: We eat a Real Food diet which means that we try to consume foods that have been minimally processed. Many times the food that we eat is dairy-free because 50% of our children have a dairy intolerance. I went back and forth several times trying to decide if this was the first criteria that I use or the second. By putting it first I didn’t want to imply that there is never processed food in our cart. We follow the 80-20 rule and 80% we eat really well, but there is the 20%. I ended up putting it first for two reasons. 1) If we cannot eat it I don’t buy it even if it is on sale or organic. 2) I think that many times people think that real food cannot be eaten on a budget, and that simply isn’t true.
Budget: The first time I wrote this post I put budget first. Then I changed my mind and I put it second because I don’t always buy the cheapest apple per pound or spend hours cutting coupons. However, I have to stay within my family’s budget or I am not being a good manager of my home or steward of our money. I watch for sales, buy in bulk and make from scratch when I can.
Local: I support local businesses and farmers whenever I can. There is greater accountability when the consumer is looking in the farmer’s eyes asking about methods. The consumer can influence how and what is available. Many farmers are responsible but are not certified organic. They may be even healthier than the organic foods in the supermarket. I prefer to buy eggs from the farm than even the organic eggs at Costco, and I love contributing directly to the economy of local families!
Organic: How food is grown or raised is important. This post would get incredibly long if I went into great detail, but I will say that pesticide and insecticide residue remains on fruits and vegetables, and hormones and antibiotics in animals are passed along to those who consume them.
Grocery stores, membership stores, online shopping and local producers; I shop from each one of them every month using many bulk shopping principles to best serve my family. I can’t wait to continue this discussion on where to buy quality food at great price!
This post is linked up at Raising Arrows, Homestead Revival and Penniless Parenting