Eat Fresh on a budget
Fruits and veggies are a necessary part of life, but they can be so expensive! For a lot of people, adding fresh foods to their budget just isn’t something they’re able to do so they miss those important nutrients that their bodies need so much. If you’re careful though and willing to do a little bit of extra work? You can eat fresh all year without killing your budget.
Grow your own –
We’ve all heard that growing your own food is not only cheaper and better for you, but have you really stopped to think about exactly how much money you really can save? In my area, a 4 pack of tomatoes that are in season typically cost $2.00 or more, but if I head down to the local lawn and garden store, I can buy an entire tomato plant for that and get two to three times the fruit! Apply that kind of savings to most of the fruits (berries, etc) and veggies we eat? You have a significant food crop that is grown for very cheap. Even if you only do an indoor herb garden, you’ll still save a pretty hefty chunk of change each year and have fresh herbs when you need them.
Believe it or not, this is REALLY fun for our family. There is something about planting and watching our veggies grow. The kids anticipate picking them as well. It is just a great bonding time for our family.
I suggest starting with a Raised Garden Bed- they are very inexpensive and doesn’t require digging into the back yard.
Learn to Can and Dehydrate –
Canning foods has long been a fantastic way to preserve fresh foods that otherwise would spoil and when you’re looking to eat fresh produce and you’re on a tight budget, it’s almost a necessity. You’ll spend money out of pocket buying your canner and canning supplies, however in the long run, you will save big. Once you have your jars and other supplies, watch the sale ads for good prices on the produce and meats that you want can. Pick those items up when they’re cheap and can them. When you’re ready to eat them, they will taste just as fresh as they did when you first bought them. If you’re really new to canning, be sure that you also pick up the Ball Blue Book too so that you know how to process foods safely and get some yummy recipes to start with too.
Dehydrating is another great option for keeping perishable items long term too. Typically you can pick a good dehydrator up for around $40. They’re super easy to use too and once they’re set up and running? It’s set it and forget it for a while. If you dehydrate, be sure that you store your goodies in airtight containers that they don’t go bad from air exposure.
Barter for fresh foods –
Bartering used to be an everyday skill, but these days, it’s not so common. It should be though because it can save you a ton! If your family or neighbors have gardens, consider offering to help them out in exchange for some of their crop. Most people will be more than willing to trade if you have something good to offer. Things like mowing their grass, doing laundry for them, baby-sitting and running errands for them are all great places to start and will generally cost you less to do than buying the food at the stores.