9

votes

Paleo on a budget - recommendations

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 28, 2011 at 2:41 AM

I am on a severe food budget - approx $330 a month for 4 people (2 adults, 2 preschool boys growing like weeds). I am trying to go as paleo as possible within that budget. My hubby will join me... eventually (has a serious cereal habit, but we have talked about going full Paleo after the holidays) and I think I can get the boys on board. We do get some help in the form of WIC, but that means I have to get the foods they "prescribe" (low fat milk, cheese, cereal, eggs - yay - juice, produce - yay). As our budget is severe, I am not going to waste essential calories for my kids :)

I know budget questions have been asked before, and I am working through them. I have an idea - after a month of "flirting" with Paleo of what I want to get when I go shopping next month - I shop at a warehouse store and a high quality grocery store 1x a month - we live so far out in the country that it takes too much gas to do anything else.

Here is my list with prices I am fairly certain on. I think the amounts I am thinking will get us through the month. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions or tweaks on how to maximize our nutrition - foods that I need to add or take away... any suggestions will be taken under grateful advisement!

??? Paleo grocery list quantities

??? Coconut oil 58oz $35.00

??? ground meat - bison 8lbs $45.00

??? chicken 10lbs $20.00

??? cauliflower 10lbs, frozen $12.00

??? broccoli 12lbs, frozen $12.00

??? bacon 8lbs $20.00

??? sausage, breakfast links 2 24 piece boxes $20.00

??? coconut flour 2lbs $10.00

??? olive oil 16oz bottle $10.00

??? eggs 8 dozen $20.00

??? butter 8lbs $20.00

??? onions 10lbs $10.00

??? chicken sausage 4 6-link packs $20.00

??? walnuts 2lbs $12.00

??? almonds 2lbs $10.00

??? curry paste 1 2oz jar $3.00

??? coconut milk 3 1/2 gallons $10.00

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49

(1371)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

cut the sausage, get some bones and use a BIG pot that is self serving with stew, on low heat. anyone can eat when theyre hungry. stew meat is much cheaper than ground. boil the eggs and make egg salad coconut flour, sausage and bacon i see as wants, not needs

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on December 20, 2011
at 02:16 AM

I am trying to find a place to get raw dairy. Most of the farmers around me are grape vines v I live in NY wine country. I am thinking of doing chickens too come spring v we already have a coop out back. As soon as I have the money to start rehabing my barns I am going to add goats and maybe even cows evtually. Our land was a dairy farm for over a hundred years, I would like to bring that back.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on December 20, 2011
at 02:13 AM

Unfortunately NYS is very restrictive on what you can buy aqnd where on WIC. I get farmers market checks in the summer for produce, but nothing else can be purchased there. I do use my food stamps at the markwt though - more in the summer than this time of year.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on December 19, 2011
at 02:16 PM

You just told her not to get bacon, and then not to get olive oil because she can cook in bacon fat....

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on December 14, 2011
at 04:17 AM

Great suggestions, Kewpie. Fabbecky, I asked a question about WIC foods about a month ago. You might look up the tag WIC and read the answers to that question.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on December 02, 2011
at 04:29 PM

It was 3, 1/2 gallons, not 3.5 gallons (1/2 gallons @$3.00each = $9.00+-). And it has been extremely difficult to feed my family on $3.30 a day - and it is getting reduced again, so that I will be feeding my family on less than $3 a day. That is why I shop 1X a month, at warehouse stores, buy in bulk, buy what I can cheap... I am trying not to sacrifice health and well being as we struggle...

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on December 02, 2011
at 06:44 AM

Where the heck are you going to find 3 gallons of Coconut milk for $10? I can't can't eve get a lb of ground beef for under $3.50. How are you going to feed your entire family for $3.30 a day?

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on November 30, 2011
at 01:19 AM

To make the flour, dehydrate the results (we have a food dehydrator, but it could be done in the oven at low temp - just keep an eye on it to prevent burning), then run in a blender or food processor for a bit to make it more fine. I'm not sure it behaves exactly like commercial coconut flour, but it works. I save up the pulp from several batches in the freezer until I have enough to do a bunch at once.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on November 30, 2011
at 01:17 AM

I take 1 cup shredded coconut (I prefer Let's Do Organic brand for this) and soak in 1 cup water for several hours (you can leave it for a few days in the fridge if you forget it). Put it in the blender. Add just enough water that the blades are covered with liquid, and blend for a minute. Add more water until you've added a total of 2 cups (or less - experiment to see how much you need to get the results you want) and blend for a few minutes more. Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth, pressing out as much liquid as you can.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 29, 2011
at 11:58 PM

How do you make it?

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on November 29, 2011
at 03:45 PM

In case you actually wanted tips on the whole chicken: just smother it in some butter, add salt/pepper/rosemary, surround with veggies, stuff with more veggies (or ground pork & spices), in the oven at 375 for about an hour or until brown, squeeze a lemon on it. Plus, then you can make broth with the bones, which is always good for you and is great for cooking stuff in or making soup. Also, if you are eating bacon, make sure you save your bacon fat, it keeps well in the fridge and is a great cooking fat. Your butcher may also sell you cheap hunks of pork fat (we freeze it and defrost in chunks

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on November 28, 2011
at 08:02 PM

Ha. veal liver is actually much tastier, you might even say it tastes like chicken!

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:17 PM

These suggestion are great! They are helping me to think outside my normal box :)

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:14 PM

I love being out in the country. I have been scouting for local suppliers, but as we are on food stamps at the moment I have to use stores that utilize them. I cannot wait until I get a job again (hopefully at the end of next semester when I finally have my teaching credentials) and can afford to buy a meat share, and join a CSA and pay all my bills and stress less. :) I keep telling myself that all this struggle is worth it and I am going to feed my family as well as we can during this time.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:08 PM

Excellent point Matt :) my "pint sized" people have ravenous appetites sometimes. I have noticed since starting Paleo they are hungrier, but eat better and both hit massive growth spurts. When I add some really good fats to their meals they are better behaved, sleep better, feel better health wise, and really enjoy their food. The 4yr old eschewed chicken nuggets (breaded junky ones) the other day for the chicken breast and avocado mommy was eating!

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:05 PM

you almost have me convinced to try liver :) I may have to buy some and see this coming month. I love sweet potatoes, so those will definitely have to go back on my list. :)

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:04 PM

Kewpie - I did not know there were difference until I moved states. In NV I could get whatever type of milk or cheese I wanted (whole, skim, 2% 1%), I could only buy the absolute cheapest peanut butter and cereal, and canned beans. In NY I can only get 1% or skim milk after the kids turn 2, can only get bean, carrots and tuna while I am pregnant or nursing, and can only get cheddar or american cheese. I can get rice, bread, whole wheat tortilla and canned or dry beans, but again, only while pregnant. Still, it helps fill in a lot of cracks.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:00 PM

Thanks to everyone, these have been some really great and supremely helpful suggestions!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:40 PM

2 of your people are pint-sized, so I count each of them as a half. :P Definitely utilize some starches for the rest of your family, it's a cheap energy source. You can simply cut back or abstain.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 28, 2011
at 10:40 AM

Great answer below by Kewpie. I thought I would add perhaps looking at cheaper cuts of meat which are not generally so popular. These I suppose would be better in stews, casseroles and cottage pie type meals.

A9808a71e03d9b9602aae53622c64d70

(123)

on November 28, 2011
at 09:32 AM

I live in the UK so your mileage may vary, but I can get lard at my local supermarket for the equivalent of $1 / lb, while butter is 3 times that price! So I cook with lard and season with butter.

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on November 28, 2011
at 07:32 AM

I might opt for cheaper meat than bison and cheaper fat than coconut oil...

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:28 AM

Great Answer Kewpie

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:27 AM

Great effort on behalf of your family!

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 28, 2011
at 04:17 AM

Happy to help! I never knew WIC differed from state to state. That's good information to have when answering questions like yours. Thanks for the info!

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 04:10 AM

Thank you for your suggestions, I will use them to tweak my list.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:56 AM

I think the coconut milk is reading wrong :). It is 3 1/2 gallons, not 3 & a half gallons. My bad. I will have to look at the ingredients in the coconut milk again, it is something just for me, so I can always adjust that one easily. I can definitely skip the nuts. They are mainly snacking options for me anyway. I can only get instant flavored oatmeal through my WIC (it is different in every state) so I usually get cereals that the hubby likes and the boys will eat. And I can only get legumes if I am pregnant and or nursing on my WIC, they always give peanut butter - only choice

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:50 AM

I know I personally do better when I am low carb. I tend to seriously binge otherwise. I am trying to stick to a low/moderate carb paleo for myself. I get brown rice from WIC and the hubbie and kids eat those. I skipped fruit this month because of all the fruit I have frozen or sitting in my kitchen. And I love dairy! I use a good bit of the milk to make my own yogurt, the kids love it and it makes a great snack. Thank you for the advice.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:47 AM

Thanks for the advice - no need to buy apples this month, I have about 10lbs sitting in my kitchen right now.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:46 AM

I need to lean out, the rest of my family does not. No fish. Allergic. Not even remotely grassfed/organic. :) Don't forget, that $330 is for 4 people. I have tried the whole chicken before and it hasn't quite worked out how I wanted, but I am willing to give it a shot again. The added fat is really for cooking stuff in - and making sure that my kids are getting the fats and stuff they need. I doubled the amounts of the fat from last month because I am about to run out and can't shop for another 13 days. Thanks for the advice.

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16 Answers

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21
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:26 AM

Looking at your list I have a few suggestions. Coconut flour is a fun ingredient for making paleo treats, but it's not exactly a nutritional powerhouse and it is very expensive. I would skip that.

Because you are buying conventional meats rather than grassfed/pastured, you'll want to stick with lean cuts, so skip the bacon and sausages and stock up on the chicken and bison instead. You could also add in a pork or beef roast since those tend to be inexpensive and can last for several meals (depending on the size of the roast).

You probably don't need to buy all three types of oil at once. I would start with either the butter or the coconut oil since they are the most versatile and buy a different one next month. I wouldn't buy both kinds of nuts either. Walnuts are probably the better choice nutritionally speaking. Really, though, you don't need nuts at all. That money could probably be better spent on more fruits and veggies or more meat.

WIC includes legumes. Although they aren't paleo, they are a decent source of very inexpensive nutrition when properly prepared. I would choose dried legumes over the peanut butter since the kinds you can buy usually have added industrial seed oils. Prepare the legumes by soaking for 2-3 days with whey, lemon juice, or vinegar and slow cooking for several hours. This will greatly reduce the phytates.

WIC gives the option of oats for the cereal. Choose that over the dry cereals and soak it overnight in buttermilk (there are other options for soaking liquids) to reduce phytates. (WAPF-friendly websites like Food Renegade or GNOWFGLINS or Kelly the Kitchen Kop can help you with traditional preparation of legumes and grains which will minimize anti-nutrients)

I would also get the cheese that WIC provides. Again, it's not strictly paleo, but if your family tolerates dairy well it's a good source of fat and protein. Make sure you get real cheese--not American cheese--and stay away from the low-fat varieties. Buy the blocks instead of shredded since the shredded cheese has additives to keep it from clumping together.

The fact that you listed the coconut milk in gallons makes me think you are talking about the kind in the refrigerator section. That is very watered down and has lots of undesirable additives. It would probably be more cost effective to choose a canned variety with no additives (or at least nothing beyond guar gum if you tolerate that ok). If you want to serve it as a beverage, just add water to taste and refrigerate.

I would also look for sweet potatoes and winter squash as your kids will need some carbs. Those veggies are in season now, so you should be able to find some good deals on those. Make sure to get some fruit, too. Apples and oranges are pretty cheap right now.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:28 AM

Great Answer Kewpie

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:56 AM

I think the coconut milk is reading wrong :). It is 3 1/2 gallons, not 3 & a half gallons. My bad. I will have to look at the ingredients in the coconut milk again, it is something just for me, so I can always adjust that one easily. I can definitely skip the nuts. They are mainly snacking options for me anyway. I can only get instant flavored oatmeal through my WIC (it is different in every state) so I usually get cereals that the hubby likes and the boys will eat. And I can only get legumes if I am pregnant and or nursing on my WIC, they always give peanut butter - only choice

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:04 PM

Kewpie - I did not know there were difference until I moved states. In NV I could get whatever type of milk or cheese I wanted (whole, skim, 2% 1%), I could only buy the absolute cheapest peanut butter and cereal, and canned beans. In NY I can only get 1% or skim milk after the kids turn 2, can only get bean, carrots and tuna while I am pregnant or nursing, and can only get cheddar or american cheese. I can get rice, bread, whole wheat tortilla and canned or dry beans, but again, only while pregnant. Still, it helps fill in a lot of cracks.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 04:10 AM

Thank you for your suggestions, I will use them to tweak my list.

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 28, 2011
at 04:17 AM

Happy to help! I never knew WIC differed from state to state. That's good information to have when answering questions like yours. Thanks for the info!

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on December 14, 2011
at 04:17 AM

Great suggestions, Kewpie. Fabbecky, I asked a question about WIC foods about a month ago. You might look up the tag WIC and read the answers to that question.

8
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:51 AM

Lots of good suggestions here, I'll just add that sardines/mackerel and a sweet potato can make an AMAZING meal, for about $4.

I'd also reduce the nuts and try to buy some sweet potatoes/yams. You can find them for less than $1/lb! Also, liver is really cheap.

Sweet potatoes and liver are among the most nutrient dense foods available and are amazing bangs for your buck.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:05 PM

you almost have me convinced to try liver :) I may have to buy some and see this coming month. I love sweet potatoes, so those will definitely have to go back on my list. :)

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on November 28, 2011
at 08:02 PM

Ha. veal liver is actually much tastier, you might even say it tastes like chicken!

6
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:22 AM

$330 a month really doesn't sound like a hard budget to keep to in my mind. But it does sound like you'll have to prioritize your paleo purchases. Get the big picture (i.e. whole foods, animals and plants, etc) right first before thinking about the details (i.e. grass-fed, organic, etc). I'm wondering (based on your prices) if you're already trying to do the organic/grass-fed thing.

Your proteins are ok. Why bison, wouldn't beef be more affordable? 1 chicken per week should cover 2-3 meals. Ditch the sausage links, too processed, buy ground pork and add sausage spices. Bacon, again, is expensive for what you get, don't prioritize it. Eggs, great, no qualms with those. How about some fish? I get 1.5 pounds of frozen wild-caught salmon for $10. You can get a pound of canned salmon for $3-4.

You're a bit light on veggies in my opinion. How about some greens? Frozen/canned spinach is around $1 per can/box, which corresponds to a huge amount of fresh since it cooks down so much. Potatoes are paleo, and if you're on a budget they're great. Cabbage is cheap too, chop it up and braise it.

You've got a ton of added fat budgeted in: over 12 pounds per month? Seems excessive, particularly when you're on a budget and trying to maximize nutrition per dollar. Fats are just calories.

If you're on a budget and not needing to lean out, hard to go wrong with safe starches. White rice is dirt cheap.

Ditch the coconut milk (3.5 gallons for $10 though?) and coconut flour. Neither are that great for nutrition, just calories.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:46 AM

I need to lean out, the rest of my family does not. No fish. Allergic. Not even remotely grassfed/organic. :) Don't forget, that $330 is for 4 people. I have tried the whole chicken before and it hasn't quite worked out how I wanted, but I am willing to give it a shot again. The added fat is really for cooking stuff in - and making sure that my kids are getting the fats and stuff they need. I doubled the amounts of the fat from last month because I am about to run out and can't shop for another 13 days. Thanks for the advice.

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on November 29, 2011
at 03:45 PM

In case you actually wanted tips on the whole chicken: just smother it in some butter, add salt/pepper/rosemary, surround with veggies, stuff with more veggies (or ground pork & spices), in the oven at 375 for about an hour or until brown, squeeze a lemon on it. Plus, then you can make broth with the bones, which is always good for you and is great for cooking stuff in or making soup. Also, if you are eating bacon, make sure you save your bacon fat, it keeps well in the fridge and is a great cooking fat. Your butcher may also sell you cheap hunks of pork fat (we freeze it and defrost in chunks

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:08 PM

Excellent point Matt :) my "pint sized" people have ravenous appetites sometimes. I have noticed since starting Paleo they are hungrier, but eat better and both hit massive growth spurts. When I add some really good fats to their meals they are better behaved, sleep better, feel better health wise, and really enjoy their food. The 4yr old eschewed chicken nuggets (breaded junky ones) the other day for the chicken breast and avocado mommy was eating!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:40 PM

2 of your people are pint-sized, so I count each of them as a half. :P Definitely utilize some starches for the rest of your family, it's a cheap energy source. You can simply cut back or abstain.

6
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:07 AM

Nix the coconut flour, almonds & chicken sausage. Buy bags of apples, bags of carrots & get frozen packs of whole chicken quarters & whole squash (so you can roast the seeds for snacks).

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:47 AM

Thanks for the advice - no need to buy apples this month, I have about 10lbs sitting in my kitchen right now.

4
559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

on November 28, 2011
at 01:56 PM

I would try and get hold of:

  • liver and kidneys; excellent nutrition for their low cost
  • bones, for making stock (bone broth); makes amazingly delicious and comforting soups and stews (You can put vegetables in the soups and stews and the minerals and vitamins don't drain away in the cooking water, as they do with boiling or steaming)
  • any cheap (usually tough) cuts of meat, for long slow cooking (makes a change from mince (ground meat)
  • lard and beef dripping (beef tallow) are great for frying and roasting
  • frozen are certainly convenient, but fresh vegetables in season are the cheapest. For example, where I live, cabbage, cauliflower and root vegetables are very good value at this time of year. If you keep them cold, maybe in a shed outside, they keep for a long time at this time of year
  • can you get those big bags of white potatoes? They can be much cheaper than smaller bags and will last for weeks if stored in a cool, dark place
  • any good-value frozen fish you can find

Best of luck with your next shopping trip!

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:17 PM

These suggestion are great! They are helping me to think outside my normal box :)

3
D54290f91bd8c2ff9fdf2f519933bf3e

(1231)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:27 AM

paleo doesnt have to be low carb. you can add potatoes and rice to this for minimal cost. i also would add some fruit for the kids at least, i know in my realistic daily life my daughter loves fruit and a little bit here and there goes a long way.

if you dont have trouble with dairy then dont discount that from wic, it might not always be the best choice but if you handle it well and its free eat it.

i use canned tomatoes a fair bit to mix in with ground meats to make chili.

look for canned tuna on sale i can get it for less than 1$ can and its a preety easy go to thing when i have no time.

if the oil and butter is cheaper in bulk then get it like that if not you dont need that much on a monthly basis. i dont think anyways.

just make sure you are not going to get sick of eating the same stuff over and over, if i dont have diversity i am much more likely to stray and fall off track.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:50 AM

I know I personally do better when I am low carb. I tend to seriously binge otherwise. I am trying to stick to a low/moderate carb paleo for myself. I get brown rice from WIC and the hubbie and kids eat those. I skipped fruit this month because of all the fruit I have frozen or sitting in my kitchen. And I love dairy! I use a good bit of the milk to make my own yogurt, the kids love it and it makes a great snack. Thank you for the advice.

2
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on December 14, 2011
at 04:27 AM

You've already gotten a lot of good suggestions. I'll just add, if you have a crockpot, try getting some cheaper cuts of meat or whole chickens ("stew hens"--the old tough laying hens that are no longer laying). I get tomato juice as part of my WIC package and it's really great stuff for slow-cooking tough cuts of meat, such as the cheap roast cuts. I put a beef arm roast in the crock-pot with 2-3 cups of tomato juice at night and let it cook until the next night for dinner. It falls apart, it's so tender! My boys love it. You can also cook a whole chicken in a crockpot. Also, as you buy whole meat, you'll have bones to make broth with and this is really healthy and yummy for making stews or chili. Also, you could cook your kids' rice in bone broth for added nutrition.

2
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:36 AM

This is a great list. Really good job. I cook without oil of any type. I hard boil or poach my eggs. Now that might not meet everyones needs. I also crock pot meat or grill it. Ground meat can go in a pan by itself. Also cooking in the oven works without oil. Eggs can be cooked in butter... Sweet Potatoes are cheap as well.

1
1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on December 19, 2011
at 02:31 PM

I live out in the country too, and I want to encourage you to meet some farmers! We have started buying beef soup bones or ham bones really cheap. They make great broths, which make great soups. Also, friends of ours go in and split sides of beef with each other, which seems to bring the cost down a lot. Some farmers will give you a good price for buying things in bulk, like potatoes, onions, winter squash, etc. Right now we are getting all the fresh, raw goat's milk we can use, for free! If I had the time, I'd be making yogurt and cheese...

Another thing we do is raise a few chickens for eggs. It isn't very expensive to buy good feed (we actually splurge and buy organic feed), and the eggs you get are amazing. You have to really whack the eggs to break the shell, and the yolks are a bright orangey color....lots of vitamins! You can supplement your chicken's food with scraps from the kitchen, and your kids will have fun watching them and collecting the eggs. Laying hens can sometimes be found through your local feed store, or you can start with babies in the spring. Friends of ours buy a bunch of meat chickens in the spring and slaughter them for amazing organic freezer birds all year long.

Good luck~ You sound like an amazing mom!

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on December 20, 2011
at 02:16 AM

I am trying to find a place to get raw dairy. Most of the farmers around me are grape vines v I live in NY wine country. I am thinking of doing chickens too come spring v we already have a coop out back. As soon as I have the money to start rehabing my barns I am going to add goats and maybe even cows evtually. Our land was a dairy farm for over a hundred years, I would like to bring that back.

1
19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on December 19, 2011
at 01:10 PM

Hi there, bet you've figured this out by now, and I hope I'm not repeating others too much, but...

Do not get coconut oil, unless you're SURE your kids like the taste of cooked foods with it.
Why pay extra for bison? Get regular meat, you're not in a place to be fancy here.
I can get 10 lbs chicken leg quarters for 4.99 total, chicken leg quarters are very cheap. Or buy roast chicken.
Bacon: I would buy ONLY enough bacon to get you started on a jar of bacon fat. Use this bacon fat instead of coconut oil.
Instead of sausage and bacon, buy other meats so you can eat them either at breakfast or other meals. I'm thinking of beef and pork roasts, or stew meat, they'll last you a very, very long time.
Coconut flour? I hope you're kidding, don't waste your money on that.
Olive oil is nice, but I think once you start eating meat and veggies at every meal (oh trust me, it doesn't get boring! I thought it would...!) you won't have much use for it. Why bother cooking with olive oil when you got bacon fat?
Definitely buy eggs, you're on a low budget, eat these for breast-fast instead of bacon or sausage. Cook them in bacon fat and they will be very filling.
Onions are OK, but honestly I rarely use them anymore.
Don't bother with chicken sausage, buy real meats. I suggest beef and pork roasts, you can cook two at once if you're busy. You can cook them at night while you watch TV, even.
Also don't waste your money on walnuts and almonds, specially when the only vegetables you're buying is broccoli and cabbage! Tsk tsk tsk!
Definitely buy the coconut milk :-)

Ok, we freed up enough money for good meat and veggies. For veggies, I recommend:
Carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, parsnips, turnips, squashes, cabbage (green and purple). Once your taste-buds reset, cabbage tastes sweet.

As a bonus, these vegetables are very cheap! If you're going to spend your WIC on expensive vegetables, go for spinach, and other dark leafy greens.

You say there are restrictions on what you can buy with WIC, but have you tried a farmer's market? They don't exactly have bar-codes on their produce, so perhaps that would let you bypass that restriction? Oh, I hope so! (Yes, farmer's markets have WIC, and I bet they'd give you a good price too).

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on December 20, 2011
at 02:13 AM

Unfortunately NYS is very restrictive on what you can buy aqnd where on WIC. I get farmers market checks in the summer for produce, but nothing else can be purchased there. I do use my food stamps at the markwt though - more in the summer than this time of year.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on December 19, 2011
at 02:16 PM

You just told her not to get bacon, and then not to get olive oil because she can cook in bacon fat....

1
0d83a31f4066514252a2b6fb81f05b48

(907)

on December 14, 2011
at 05:33 AM

My poor student budget staples are

-canned chopped tomatoes

-canned sardines

-coconut oil or butter

-eggs

-bone in meat cuts or offal (thank heavens for slow cookers!)

-apple cider vinegar

-cheap vegetables and fruit like cabbage (great to stretch out meals), carrots, onions, cauliflower, bananas, sweet potatoes, squash

I'd agree with the suggestions to leave the coconut flour, sausage and coconut milk. Stick with most basic of foods until your budget can afford to add in baking and other creative culinary dishes. Joining a local CSA can be a lifesaver for fresh produce so I would really recommend that as an investment if you ever have the opportunity.

Best of luck and kudos to trying to do the best for your family with the limits upon you.

1
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on November 29, 2011
at 06:06 PM

Making coconut milk from shredded coconut results in coconut flour as a byproduct, and is cheaper than buying either pre-prepared. It takes about 10 minutes worth of effort per batch (with batch size depending on your usage rate and available equipment. I'm currently doing about a quart at a time.)

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 29, 2011
at 11:58 PM

How do you make it?

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on November 30, 2011
at 01:17 AM

I take 1 cup shredded coconut (I prefer Let's Do Organic brand for this) and soak in 1 cup water for several hours (you can leave it for a few days in the fridge if you forget it). Put it in the blender. Add just enough water that the blades are covered with liquid, and blend for a minute. Add more water until you've added a total of 2 cups (or less - experiment to see how much you need to get the results you want) and blend for a few minutes more. Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth, pressing out as much liquid as you can.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on November 30, 2011
at 01:19 AM

To make the flour, dehydrate the results (we have a food dehydrator, but it could be done in the oven at low temp - just keep an eye on it to prevent burning), then run in a blender or food processor for a bit to make it more fine. I'm not sure it behaves exactly like commercial coconut flour, but it works. I save up the pulp from several batches in the freezer until I have enough to do a bunch at once.

1
244e1f82efb3fd15d2da39397488fb24

(549)

on November 28, 2011
at 06:39 PM

I recently discovered how cheap organ meats are, even the organic, free-range, grass-fed ones from my local farmers at the farmers market. I couldn't believe it! I bought this huge bag or pastured organic chicken livers for ten bucks! I asked a guy about these huge grass-fed, free-range bison livers and he said five bucks. Not bad for the most nutrient-dense part of the animal. I am really happy about that. Also, you can buy their bones for super cheap and make some soup broths, which go a long way. This is how I'm currently stretching my dollar. I hate the taste of organ meats, but I always feel AMAZING about an hour after consumption. AND, I'm saving money. Excellent.

1
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on November 28, 2011
at 03:28 PM

I would also skip most of the coconut products this month, especially the flour and milk. You can make a decent nut milk out of raw almonds very easily if you have a blender. Lucky you, being able to live out in the country. Start looking for local suppliers now, for veggies and good quality meats. Onions and sweet potatoes are reasonably priced at this time of year, so I hope you find them on sale during your shopping trip. I split large bags of food with family, friends and neighbors so this might be an option for you.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on November 28, 2011
at 05:14 PM

I love being out in the country. I have been scouting for local suppliers, but as we are on food stamps at the moment I have to use stores that utilize them. I cannot wait until I get a job again (hopefully at the end of next semester when I finally have my teaching credentials) and can afford to buy a meat share, and join a CSA and pay all my bills and stress less. :) I keep telling myself that all this struggle is worth it and I am going to feed my family as well as we can during this time.

0
3ab63fb5ddb0180f2ebb077c487fbbc4

on April 01, 2012
at 04:01 PM

I just wanted to chime in and say to not forget the standard grocery savings protocols-- Use the internet to search for coupons for every product you buy, "Real Food" Coupons are harder to come by but they DO exist, I right now have coupons for earthbound organics spinach, driscolls berries, coconut milk, and $2 off pork. www.recyclebank.com is a great site to join and do green things in order to earn points that can be redeemed for coupons for healthy food. Also, make sure you compare prices in store ads that before going out. Most walmarts will pricematch other people. I find all the produce sales within a 2 hour radius of me and then pricematch at walmart. That would allow you to use your foodstamps as well. Good Luck!

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 29, 2011
at 04:31 AM

Take out the coconut products, oils, sausages, chicken, bacon, butter, nuts, cauliflower Add sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, avocado, gound beef, sweet peppers

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