here are some of the ways we make fewer ends in the food category:
~we have a budget. i list the weeks of the month + the amount of money allotted to each... and then i write down each purchase. this lets me know exactly how much i am spending and when to hold back. in my budget, all food purchases go here including: coffee date with mr. tribe, ice cream on the weekend, dinner out as a tribe, etc. writing it down and seeing it all together has helped me be so much more mindful of spending. i can adjust along the way.
~we love our garden. our suburban lot provides plenty of room for growing food. we started small and have just added a bit each year. i grow things we like to eat a lot of…potatoes, snap peas, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, chives, carrots. our tomatoes alone provide us with enough sauce to last until spring.
~i make a menu and a list. it keeps my focus on what we really need and keeps me from second guessing if we will have enough (so i don't throw random things into the cart as we go). it also makes it so much easier to know what's for dinner and what i need to do in preparation. i plan meals according to how much time i'll have for preparation as well.
~we only grocery shop once per week. this cuts down on the chances to lose focus.
~we shop the outer aisles of the grocery store. vegetables, fruit, dairy, beans, and bulk are the main things that end up in our cart. i send the girls into the inner aisles, if we need a specific thing or two there (less temptation to add things not on the list- and less chance for them to ask). :)
~we shop the farmer's market when it is running. it is much cheaper for most vegetables.
~we make it from scratch. granola bars, yogurt, popcorn, cookies, popsicles, smoothies, dinner.
~i am convinced that less packaging is best for us, the earth, and the future. this conviction reinforces my focus.
~i took the time to get comfortable and confident with some healthy, simple recipes. i know they taste good. i don't feel that i need to have a million spice jars in my cabinet. i don't feel the pressure to make something different every day of the year.
~we use everything we have. my menu + list begin with what's left in our fridge and cupboards at the end of the week. we don't waste food. we eat what we buy…and get creative when we need to. those leftover veggies pictured up there came home with us from my nephew's wedding and became soup at our house.
~we talk about where our food came from and who grew it. it makes simple food taste incredible. we love our garden and our farmers. we love to be able to say that we are eating multiple super foods in one meal or that there is nothing really unhealthy for us on our plates.
i feel almost silly posting this, since these ideas are so simple, but it took me a surprisingly long time to actually implement all these things at once and consistently. how do you make fewer ends in the food category? i'd love to hear!
this post is one of a series originating here.
p.s. K kindly commented that taking reusable bags and containers shopping will often earn a discount at check out. yes! thanks for that reminder, K! here's a post about what we take to the grocery store, just in case it might be of interest. :)