Budget busters...and savers!


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Whenever we go to the local HyVee, I let my kiddos pick out a snack to keep them quiet to keep them from asking for cheese...non-stop...

Usually they want a Larabar, and generally I have no problem with that. But last time we went shopping, we ALL went shopping, and before I knew it I had $6 of Larabar wrappers in my cart! That got me thinking - some things can be serious paleo budget busters! Seriously, that's a jar of coconut oil (at Walmart)!

What are some of the budget busters in your cart?

Better yet, what do you buy that saves your budget? For us, it's the 5lb bag of organic carrots and the jumbo twin pack of Sunmaid raisins.

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Budget busters for me are:

  • fresh baby coconuts
  • Artisana coconut butter
  • organic cream of coconut (can you tell I like coconut?)
  • macadamia nuts
  • produce at Whole Foods, New Seasons, or Trader Joe's

Budget savers are:

  • anything we can get at Costco
    • organic produce
    • almond butter
    • raw almonds
    • organic eggs (when we don't have any from our friend who raises chickens)

    [*]produce from Winco Foods

    [*]meat, spices, etc from Cash & Carry (local quasi wholesaler)

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Robin - have you ever tried to make larabars at home? Food processing the dates is a little clunky but otherwise they're really easy to make and maybe something fun you can do with the kids. Here's some ideas http://www.damyhealth.com/2011/03/how-to-make-homemade-lara-bars/

My best budget busting tip is to buy some of my staples online. You can comparison shop prices on amazon and also vitacost.com has some good deals.

The other thing I'd recommend is following your favorite local grocery store on Facebook, subscribing to their email, or checking their website regularly for the current deals. A lot of the meat and fish we buy goes on sale and it pays to know when to buy what.

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Everything I buy seems to bust my budget lately (#poorcollegestudent) but the worst culprit is definitely berries. I eat them in my salads and they are not cheap! I save by eating an obsene amount of eggs, drinking folgers coffee (skipping the espresso stand) and buying those little cans of V8 in bulk.

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budget busters for me used to include larabars in a major way...but inadvertently weaned myself off them--bought the ingredients to make my own and instead just started having a few nuts and dates. then eventually stopped buying dates and now just eat a half-handful of nuts or so. still, i have to admit that i'd buy larabars regularly again if they weren't so outrageously expensive for such a little bitty two bites.

now, the BBs are: grassfed ground beef (i'd say that's number 1) & good fresh fish. But my other staples are (at least relatively) pricey too: sugarless smoked salmon, Native Forest Organic unsweetened coconut milk, organic coffee beans, organic tea, organic oils (but they at least last a while), grain-free cat food (for my kitty LingXu, of course:), sparkling water (a totally lush, wasteful luxury item that i'll fully admit feeling guilty about...even as i chug, um sip, a big bottle a day).

#1 money-saver for me (even when buying the good stuff) is eggs. But also spend a couple bucks on organic turkey parts or cheap steaks at whole foods from time to time--whenever i'm organized and paying attention to in-store sales. Cook them up in the oven and they make several days worth of lunches. This is crucial for me because if i eat too many eggs i start feeling nauseous about them (whereas, eaten every once in a while, they seem delicious).

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Dana -

Grain-free pet food is expensive, isn't it?! I hadn't thought about including that on the list. We have a 170 lb Great Dane who eats grain-free, large breed dog food. It costs us, per week, what it costs friends and family to feed their dogs for the month! But, he is my youngest child so he's worth it ;0) We're actually getting ready to transition him to a raw diet because I think it'll be cheaper that way, and better for him.

Sparkling water is a big one for us, too! It's so hard to justify $5 for 12 cans of water. We like to get the large case of bottles from Sam's Club, but even still. Have you considered a Soda Stream? I'm really thinking about one.

I totally hear you on the eggs. Even at 2-3 doz per week they're a super star. But then again, I could eat bacon and eggs three times a day forever.

Johnny - I haven't tried making the Larabars. Honestly, I'm afraid I'll like them too much. I get the box of minis for the kiddos lunches, and It's easy for me to resist them when I'm on my own at the store because, really, do I want to pay $1.50 for a three-bite snack? I could get 1/4lb of deli meat for that! But if they were at home... My willpower's not so good.

Jim - we save bunches on our produce (even the organic stuff) by buying from a conventional grocery chain (we like HyVee). We've found that their prices are stellar because they have enough mark-up built in to everything else in the store and don't need to gouge on organic stuff. That also goes for our "natural foods" like almond flour, nut butters, cage-free organic eggs, etc.

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Dana -

Grain-free pet food is expensive, isn't it?! I hadn't thought about including that on the list. We have a 170 lb Great Dane who eats grain-free, large breed dog food. It costs us, per week, what it costs friends and family to feed their dogs for the month! But, he is my youngest child so he's worth it ;0) We're actually getting ready to transition him to a raw diet because I think it'll be cheaper that way, and better for him.

Sparkling water is a big one for us, too! It's so hard to justify $5 for 12 cans of water. We like to get the large case of bottles from Sam's Club, but even still. Have you considered a Soda Stream? I'm really thinking about one.

I totally hear you on the eggs. Even at 2-3 doz per week they're a super star. But then again, I could eat bacon and eggs three times a day forever.

Totally, Robin. Grain-free pet food costs me $1 a day--would be more, but i use a discount card and ration her, holding firm at one wetfood can while keeping the dry food bowl full. I was considering raw...but my vet scared me with stories of pet illness. Possibly needlessly, but now i won't feel right trying until i've thoroughly researched. Drives me mad that pet-food makers think cats want or need rice or wheat.

As for the Soda Stream, is that one of those make-sparkling-water contraptions? i've been meaning to look into those, although the tap water where i am at present tastes horrible, so not sure how well it'd do.

Sure wish i could eat eggs endlessly (the way i could eat raw fish and rare ground beef). Then my food budgeting problems would be solved.

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Hi guys! We feed our dogs (shihtzu and greater Swiss mt dog) a raw diet! Been 4 years now... It took us 3 years to find a vet that approved of their diet... All the others always say "oh their coats and teeth are so nice, their energy levels are great, what do you feed them??!!...... Oh, we don't approve of that" *rolleyes*

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Budget Busters:

Filet Mignon (hmmmmmm)

Dried stuff (veggies, fruits, jerky... i need to get me a dehydator!)

Avocados (seriously can be like $1.50 each when not on sale, thats ridiculous!)

Budget Savers:

Shopping local ads and price matching

Buying whole chickens or split breasts when on sale and cutting them up myself!

using deal sites, recently had $15 for $30 worth @ Abe's market, or Vitacost $10 credits

Eggs

Costco

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Budget busters: the oils when I need to stock up. Coconut, avocado, grassfed ghee. I do my best to comparison shop and do use amazon a lot, but it's still tough when they all seemingly run low at the same time!

Savers: my CSAs. I have one for grassfed & pastured meats. I pay $8 per pound and receive 10 lbs of beef, lamb, chicken, pork, duck and a dozen eggs each month. Then there is my vegetable CSA which works out to about $20 per week for a boatload of organic local produce, plus an additional $8 per month for two dozen pastured eggs.

I highly recommend you research your local area for CSA options!

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anyone with experience feeding raw food to cats?

Dana, you may want to ask this somewhere else, because it'll get lost in this thread. I'm 70% sure that Diane Sanfilippo from Balanced Bites feeds her cat raw food, or at least she supplements her kibble with organ meats. Robb's also got a Paleo kitty in his personal assistant, Keystone...but I believe they feed him purely grain free kibble. You might want to ask both of them their experiences on FB.

I know that converting kitties to raw food is a lot harder than converting dogs. Cats are hunters, whereas dogs are scavengers, so they tend to prefer their meat still warm, etc. Cats are just more finicky eaters anyway.

Mark Sisson had a post many moons ago: http://www.marksdail.../#axzz1uxAj7dMN

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abic131- I'm a poor college grad, so I hear you on everything being a budget buster! I've had to accept that my grocery budget is my biggest expense every month, but I tell myself it balances out as I'm saving a ton on pre-Paleo doctor's bills, rarely eating out because my meals at home are super tasty, and then being a ridiculous cheapskate in many other areas (new clothes? nice haircut? no thanks, I'd rather buy more kale).

budget busters: wild-caught salmon, Native Forest coconut milk, store-bought organic chard/kale/spinach, avocados, good coffee (which I've limited to weekends only unless it's free at a meeting or something)

big savers: liver, homegrown spinach, ground sirloin on sale, following produce sales, shopping at the "pack your own meat" place

Another way to save is to buy a ton of your favorite produce when it goes on sale, and then freeze it (or blanch and freeze) to use it into the future. I do this with meat and with vegetables. It requires more planning on my part in terms of when to defrost things, but it's worth the savings on my favorite cuts. I almost never buy berries so when fresh ones go on sale they are a huge treat!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Totally, Robin. Grain-free pet food costs me $1 a day--would be more, but i use a discount card and ration her, holding firm at one wetfood can while keeping the dry food bowl full. I was considering raw...but my vet scared me with stories of pet illness. Possibly needlessly, but now i won't feel right trying until i've thoroughly researched. Drives me mad that pet-food makers think cats want or need rice or wheat.

My dog has been raw fed for 4 years.. my cats for 3. They are in fabulous shape. It's much more natural for a dog or cat to eat raw... second best is home made cooked. :) Raw feeding keeps your animal OUT of the vet's office. LOL

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  • 4 weeks later...

anyone with experience feeding raw food to cats?

I know this thread is a little older. I just found this forum. I've been feeding one of my cats raw food for about 2 1/2 years. We got her at 9 months and had been an alley/shelter cat. I had no trouble getting her to eat raw. I buy nature's variety frozen medallions. I don't have time to make my own and make sure she has taurine. I spend about $20 a month. She's a small cat. They're always amazed at the pet store that I have a cat that eats raw. I guess most people buy it for dogs.

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My buster is steak. I love steak. I still have a hard time eating grass fed. It has a weird taste to me. I'd like to buy half a cow, but it's a big amount of money to put up front.

saver - organic baby field greens from sams club. It's like 4.50 for a huge tub of lettuce. We eat lots of salad and still have to stuff ourselves to use it up before it goes bad. We also buy eggs from a farmer for $2 a dozen. They are so good. We eat whole chickens and beef roasts a lot. I buy a big box of mangos at Sams and wait until it gets really ripe. Then, I cut it up and freeze it. It's a big pain, but I like to have some frozen for smoothies for the kids.

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Buster: oils (coconut oil is incredibly expensive here), salmon, organic beef (but I got used to buy directly from farms association - lower price than in store - and i buy whole pieces and freeze the cuts), nuts and "Larabars" (we don't have Larabars in Czech Republic, but we have similar bars and they are similarly expensive), avocados, pork meat (I prefer organic meat from the best breed we have here, so it goes up in price).

Savers: liver, beef ribs or oxtail (I make broth and from the broth I make soup with cooked meat from ribs and vegetables > many portions with enough protein, veggies and fat, I store some in refridgerator and some in freezer - sometimes I put egg in when I reheat the portion), vegetable from farmers market, eggs from my boss for very low price.

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