We are currently making most meals from scratch. And, while this is cheaper than eating out, it would be cheaper yet if I would make a few changes.
Here is what I am considering:
Presently, I am using raw/pure honey in place of sugar in recipes. This stuff costs a fortune! I am ashamed to say what I spend per gallon. I have heard of an Amish man that sells a 5 gallon bucket for only $75. That would be really cheap... for raw honey. BUT, for us that might still be too expensive. So, I am debating between buying the refined honey in bulk from Sam's Club, OR I will buy a 50 pound bag of evaporated cane juice from the Dutch Foods Store. I have not priced the honey at Sam's yet. But, I think that the bag of sugar is $21.99.
Next is succanat. I have never been able to get it in bulk, so I paid $2.50/pound. I use succanat to replace brown sugar in my recipes. But, I will just be completely honest... I already bought brown sugar. I cannot afford succanat. Brown sugar is cheaper.
We have never been able to afford to buy organic. But, we do grow our own pesticide-free/herbicide-free produce. We will not change anything in this category.
I use real butter, in place of margarine. Yes, I know that some of you think that margarine is the healthier option, and I am crazy. But, I have read otherwise. And, I think that sticking with food the way God made it is always better! The problem - butter costs about 4 times the cost of margarine! I could either 1) make my own butter, 2) switch to margarine, or 3) change nothing. Since I like the taste and consistency of real butter, I will not be switching to margarine. And, since we are not buying raw milk and cream right now, I cannot start making it. But, just as soon as we can get back on raw milk, I plan to make my own. Better yet! I want my own milk cow! But, this is not a necessarily a cheaper option - because you have to feed the cow. But, it would certainly be the most healthy option!
Right now we are using not-at-all-lean meat, because we can afford it. And, I do not plan to switch to cheaper meat anytime soon. But, I could try to cook less chicken and more beef. And, I could try to cook more beans/lentils and less beef! I really do want to have more meat-free meals! And, our ultimate goal is to grow our own beef and chickens.
As for eggs, I was buying the "all natural" brown eggs at the store, when I could not buy them locally. Wal-Mart sells these eggs for $2.44/dozen. I like them, because the yolk is richer/darker and the shell is tougher. BUT, my new plan (already in motion) is that when I cannot buy farm fresh eggs I will buy the cheap ones at Wal-Mart. Right now, my FIL has chickens and is able to give us eggs for free - woo hoo! But, we cannot count on such generosity when we move away. So, again, our ultimate goal is to raise our own chickens.
We eat brown rice several times a week. We like rice, it is a good filler! But, I am thinking about using white rice on occasion. Is that really so bad?
Even writing this, I feel a little bit guilty, because now you healthy eating gurus might think less of me. But, I need to save money! I am not trying to kill my family. I am not trying to cause cancer, obesity, or other physiological disorders. I am just trying to save money! You saw in another recent post that we have cut back on everything that I can think of (save the internet and my cell phone that will go as soon as the contract is completed. Paul has to have a cell phone for his driving with UPS).
But, as I said before, I am trying to be moderate! I do not want to obsess over healthy eating, because it is not the reason we live! We do not live for food! We live for God, to know Him and make Him known! And, if healthy eating consumes me more than the Gospel - I have a problem!
Now, I ask for your practical help and opinions. How do you save money while eating healthy?