Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Budgeting - food or ideals

Moving twice, plus school has made budgeting and finances a bit lower on my priority list than they should be. Tax season has put things into perspective. (Here are a list of how to access info on gluten-free tax deductions.)

I started using and setting up budgets and have hit a bit of a conundrum. What I want to eat (ethically, heath-wise and environmentally sound) no longer matches up with my income.

  • I do not eat gluten. I avoid most soy and tapioca.
  • I avoid any eggs, milk, meat that contains antibiotics - because if I get sick I want antibiotics to work.
  • I love fish, but shoot for wild, sustainably caught... though as of late I have just stuck with sardines and anchovies. 
  • I shoot for local and organic, when possible. Especially if its a leafy veggie or a fruit I eat the skin of.
  • I prefer non-GMO options, but since the USDA has allowed companies not to disclose this information, its a bit of a crapshoot. 
  • I try to make most of my gluten-free substitute foods whenever possible.

So what now?
Clearly my price hunting and shopping at over 5 stores to get the lowest prices for groceries is not enough. Where do I give in?
Its not something I am taking lightly. I know I feel best when I don't eat certain things (gluten, soy, tapioca, lots of dairy and fried foods). But eating locally is very important - I think its the single easiest (and hardest) way to impact food changes. A few weeks ago I was at the farmers market and realized that I cannot afford even the cheapest cuts of local meat, never mind the tiny $8 container of local mushrooms.
Do I give up on the farmers market?
Should I just give up meats and eat conventional vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains?
Do I just go and buy whatever is on sale and go for the cheapest of everything?
Do I give up gluten-free flours and just avoid replacement foods all together?

How do you trim down your food budget?


  1. More information, and opinions, on GMO foods and the lack of labeling in the US

  2. I understand your pain in the food and budget departments. I eat very similar to you as well. A few ideas to cut down the food bill (I'm sure you have thought of these as well):

    -GROW YOUR OWN. Even in an apartment you can have a window box full of herbs or small lettuce. A container garden with a tomato plant. A box of mushrooms under the kitchen sink or in a basement.

    -C0-0P. Buying things in bulk is cheaper. Get together with friends or find others online who live near you and buy large quantities and split them up amongst you.

    -BUY YOUR OWN COW/PIG. My uncle lives in the city. He buys an animal and it lives on a farm where it is cared for by the farmer. He splits a portion of the meat with the farmer and he gets fresh, free range meat once a year to stock his freezer.

    -GATHER/FORAGE. Even in the city there are edible plants growing wild. Everywhere. You can find more info on this online.

    Good luck.

  3. These are really great - especially buying with others. The Co-op near me is severely over priced and is not a shopping option, but getting a group of people together to purchase larger quantities might be a slam-dunk.