Summer is coming! That means you can find healthy ways to cut your grocery budget.
The average American family spends $150 – $275 on groceries every week. If you’re reading this post, you probably don’t consider yourself average. One of my favorite things to do is to cut my spending in the summer, especially on groceries.
It’s a bit of a challenge for my family since we are more active during the summer: exercising, hiking, camping, and more. But, it can be done. Here are a few of the tips I have discovered.
4 Healthy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Budget
1. Join your local CSA
A CSA stands for Community Sustained Agriculture, which simply means that people like you and I support their local farmers by buying a membership into their farm. The benefit of being a member is that you receive a weekly box of farm-fresh, locally-grown veggies. The average cost of CSA membership is $25-$30 a week, and most CSA boxes feed 2-4 adults, or an average family size very comfortably. A typical CSA box should have 8-10 different items in it, and often includes veggies and herbs, and sometimes fruit. Some farms have special add-on items for their CSA members such as eggs and meat.
The residual benefits are fabulous for my family: when we eat local, fresh food we feel better. Also, I tend to grill more. I grill everything in the summer: corn, veggies, meat, even fruit, so my gas and electric bills go down since I am not constantly heating my house with the stove, oven and crockpot!
But, the bottom line benefit for me is that I know exactly where my money is going, and I have a relationship with and confidence in the farmers growing my food!
2. Pick-your-own days
Even if you don’t join a CSA, get in touch with your local farms and find out when they have pick-your-own days. At one local CSA farm they have $10 box days where you can come and grab a box and fill it to the brim with whatever produce they have available for $10. I will go and fill up boxes with tomatoes and potatoes and cucumbers. I can the tomatoes to use all winter, pickle the cucumbers for pickle fanatics in my family, and save the potatoes in the cellar.
3. Barter for veggies
Some community gardens and farms will open their gates for you to come and weed or water in exchange for veggies. It’s a great family activity and the returns are yummy! Be sure to wear a floppy hat and cool long sleeve shirt, as well as bring water with you if you’re going to be outside on a sunny day.
Towards the end of summer gleaning becomes an opportunity. When a farmer, or even someone with backyard fruit trees, has used all they want out of their garden or off their trees, they are more than happy to share with anyone willing to come pick. My rule: it never hurts to ask. I’ve pulled up at the home of someone who had apricot trees that were loaded and falling on to the road to ask if they might be done picking and willing to share. They were thankful for someone to help with the harvest. Always make sure to ask before gleaning, though! I’m part of a local Facebook page where people post when they have extra, so you might start out by looking there!
So, how do I find out about these opportunities in my area?
Finding these might take a little research, but here are some resources to get you started.
What other summer time tips do you have for cutting your grocery budget?
You can also check out these articles for additional grocery savings! Click on the picture and you will be taken right to the article.