If you came here looking for a great system to shop and cook by using sale fliers, I’m sorry. I’ve got nothing for you for the simple reason that I don’t and never have done it.
Our family currently spends about $10 per person per week at the grocery store.
The reason for this is that most of the items lining the shelves of our local grocery store are foods that our family doesn’t eat and even many of the items that we do eat can be found for less money and higher quality elsewhere (and sometimes we choose to pay more for the higher quality).
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
~ Proverbs 31:14
Lessening your dependence on your local grocery can save money, but I’ve found that it’s saving us time, once we made the initial time investment to find our sources.
Also it has, in some ways, simplified our life. We purchase food in it’s more basic form which means we start with less variety, but then make it into the variety that we eat. One example of this is raw milk (one purchase). From the raw milk we get cream, butter, kefir, sour cream, cream cheese and other soft cheeses.
We also purchase foods in larger quantities, which means we need to repurchase them less often and we always have food in the house.
So what are some options for acquiring food outside of the grocery store?
Purchasing food in bulk saves time and money allowing us to feed our family healthier foods for less money.With a little upfront investment in time and resources (mainly 5 gallon buckets for storing your bulk foods), we’ve found purchasing foods through a co-op to be a tremendous blessing to our family.
Foods we purchase via co-op:
- grains (wheat, spelt, oats, rice, quinoa, popcorn, etc.)
- spices (salt, baking soda, arrowroot powder, turmeric, etc.)
- maple syrup
- cocoa powder
- raw nuts
Azure Standard recently began a monthly delivery here in Knoxville and this has provided a wonderful source of most of our co-op needs. Azure carries everything from the items listed above to raw milk cheeses, fresh produce, frozen items and even granola bars, chocolate, etc. The prices, variety and quality at Azure are unsurpassed (at least in my research) and a regular monthly delivery is super convenient. (You can check their website for some info on drop locations, but feel free to contact the Wood Family via this Facebook page and to see if they have, or can get, a drop location near you.)
It may take a little more work on your part to find reliable sources for various items, but it’s worth it!
Buying from local farmers is my favorite way to shop. I love knowing the families that provides our family with milk, beef and produce. I love that they know us. I love knowing that we’re helping them while they are helping us. I say it nearly every week when we pick up our milk and produce. I LOVE shopping locally.
So how to get started?
Visit your local farmer’s market or look for a local farm with a CSA program here.
We purchase our produce from the Colvin Family and have been nothing but happy. (How fun is it that they have 13 children?) This may be an option for those of you who are in the East Tennessee area.
Laws vary by state, but finding a quality source of raw milk has been a wonderful blessing for our family.
Please be careful and do visit the farm because not all those who sell raw milk care enough about the quality of the product.
You may start with this Real Milk Finder to see what is available in your area. Asking people you know may also be a good way to find a good milk source.
We get all of our milk from Cruze Dairy and have been blessed by them in many ways.
We’ve been blessed to know people who raise beef cattle, so this one fell into our lap. This is a super easy time-saver. We purchase a whole cow, pay the butchering fees and then pack it into our freezer. Grass-fed beef and lots of good beef bones for stock whenever we need them.
Does anyone know of a good way to find a nice source of local meat?
This is actually something that our local grocery stores carry at times; local, raw honey. When I see it in the grocery store (or when my sweet friend sees it and gives me a call) I try to stock up a year’s supply. With raw honey, local is important.
Yes, you can purchase groceries online. Since most of the time co-ops are less expensive, this is my back up when I neglected to put something into my order
However, for some products, online is my primary source. Currently, I buy most of our soap making products online.
Homemade and Reusable
Our family doesn’t use most of the paper, cleaning or healthcare products sold in grocery stores. Instead of paper we use cloth (except for toilet paper, we love toilet paper) and instead of commercial cleaning and healthcare products we use homemade.
Many of you have asked for some of our recipes. Some are still evolving, but the toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner are keepers, for sure!
I could say a lot more about this and maybe eventually I will give it it’s own post with a picture explaining why we use these, but there you have it. This toothpaste has eliminated morning breath, seriously who would have thought that was possible?
- 1/2 c. coconut oil
- 1/4 c. diatomaceous earth
- 1 T. Xylitol
- 40 drops Peppermint essential oil *
- 2-4 drops Thieves essential oil *
Mix ingredients thoroughly and store in a small glass jar in the bathroom. We use tongue depressors to apply the toothpaste to our toothbrushes.
Please note this is just a recipe, not instructions on how to make soap. If you’re not familiar with soap making, I suggest this free video tutorial to help you get started. All measurements are by weight and as always you can substitute ingredients as long you run them through a lye calculator. This recipe has 6% superfat.
3 ounces almond oil (sweet)
1 oz beeswax
5 oz castor oil
2 oz cocoa butter
9 oz coconut oil (76 degrees)
9 oz olive oil
2 oz shea butter (unrefined)
4 oz water
6 oz milk (or goat’s milk or coconut milk or all water or an herbal infusion)
4.24 oz lye
Essential oils of your choice for fragrance. (optional)
Perfect to use in conjunction with the above soap. Mix apple cider vinegar and water (we like 1:4 ratio) in a spray bottle and spray onto hair after shampooing. Rinse clean. Your hair will smell amazing, not like vinegar.
Please note this is just a recipe, not instructions on how to make soap. If you’re not familiar with soap making, I suggest this free video tutorial to help you get started. All measurements are by weight.
We use this soap as is for our laundry soap and then French-mill it to add color and fragrance for a more luxurious shower experience. My favorite so far is our green tea and mint bar, that’s surprising because I thought I would like the cocoa mint better.
In what ways have you lessened your dependence on the grocery store or what tips do you have for saving money on groceries?
You may also be interested in:
- The week of chocolate milk – just one way our dairy blessed us
- Supporting a large family on one income
- Cooking from scratch: Tools, Tips and Scheduling
- Preserving food
- Feed your family for $.50/person
- Tips for feeding a large family on a budget
- Menu planning for traditionally prepared real food
And if you were looking for those great sale-flier-shopping tips, visit the other moms: