I will admit that we have ordered out twice, and I think I stopped to grab a bite to eat twice when I didn't plan my schedule out well enough.
BUT all my grocery shopping has been done at either Earth Fare, the Fresh Market or Three Rivers are local co op market for at least the past 3-4 weeks.
I have been debating on making the switch for awhile. I made excuses, Number one being the cost. After some debate I decided that if there was one thing I wanted to spend money on, it was good food.
So that helped to spur my decision to start making products and going more waste free. By not buying paper plates, paper towels, laundry detergents, cleaners etc I can budget in good, decent food for not much more extra monthly expense.
I've also found that buying fresh veggies really is cheaper in the long run that the frozen I typically bought anyway. My one main hang up there was it not being as 'convenient'. I solved this problem by peeling, chopping and prepping veggies for the week ahead of time. Then tossing them in either the freezer or crisper.
In the past few months it seems as if most of the meat I was buying at the 'normal' grocery stores were not quality. I would pull it out of the freezer to find odd colored meats, meat that had gone bad or freezer burn quickly. I tried packaging and storing them myself and still had problems. I also only buy hormone and antibiotic free meats anyway and so even at the 'normal' grocery it can be costly. Switching to meats from the Fresh Market or Earth Fare really made sense. I can also buy in proportions I need. I can ask for 3 chicken breasts and a one pound roast instead of trying to figure up how much to get from the prepacked stuff.
I plan meals around leftovers on occasion as well. When we had a lot of leftover chicken, I made chicken noodle soup. When we had a lot of leftover mashed potatoes, I used them in a Sheperd's Pie.
We made a yummy lemon tiramisu and had a lot of leftover ingredients such as the limoncello alchol and cream so I found another recipe that used those ingredients and also fresh blueberries that were on sale at the co op.
I try to buy things in season and on sale when I can. I freeze or put away what I don't need now.
My only 'indulgence' has been the organic healthier versions of things like Mac N Cheese. Lunch time quick fixes. I will often times cook up a box of Kraft Mac N Cheese and some hot dogs and serve it as a quick lunch. So instead I bought some Annie's Pastas (The Peace Pasta is num!) and some turkey dogs.
I started making my own bread.
I also try to make a list and stick to it. It's hard sometimes to walk past the desserts and premade isles without stopping. I do stray from the list when I find good deals and things on sale. I think that's still not recommended though. Oh well. haha
I try to make up meal plans. It's all about looking at the over all whole and trying to find ways to make changes here and there.
I think there's lots of ways to continue to eat healthy but not break the bank. I am still finding ways.
Do you have any tips on eating well but not spending too much?