Real Food Budget Planner

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Real Food Budget Planner l Tips and Information l Homestead Lady (.com)I am the last person on earth qualified to talk about any kind of budget planner but I’ve had to adopt some sort of grocery philosophy where providing real foods for my family is concerned.  How about you?

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Budget Planner for Real Foods

My efforts at maintain a budget planner have always ended up abysmal.  It’s not in my nature to easily embrace details and, even though I know the great value of a budget planner, I typically fail over the long haul at maintaining one.  Never fear, I say to myself!  Awesome and inspiring authors and bloggers are here!  Here are some real food for real families budget planner helps from some real people.

 Working Class Foodies Cookbook

Here’s my review of this wonderfully titled cookbook.  Great concept, very helpful, real.  The book was written by Rebecca Lando who runs the Working Class Foodies Blog, among other things.  Her book is educational, as well as being a worthy cookbook.  It has personal experiences, tutorials and is replete with various guides and tables.  Working Class Foodies Cookbook also contains 100 seasonal and organic recipes for under $8 per person.  Grocery prices vary, of course, from region to region but Rebecca’s writing is full of practical advice and inspiration.  You’ll learn how to become a foodie, not just cook like one and learn how to do it on a budget. 

Fyi, this will involve learning new skills in the kitchen because they best way to start saving money today is to learn to prepare your own meals.  I often walk into my kitchen and lament that there’s no food – only ingredients to make food!  Yes, it takes more time but the trade off is that you get to eat the way that nourishes you without selling your firstborn child to pay for it.  Working Class Foodies Cookbook is a great beginner foodie primer and I think everyone interested in creating a real food budget planner should invest in a copy.  The one drawback with this book is that, even though it’s formatted well and clearly, it doesn’t have enough pictures, in my opinion.  I’m a really visual learner and, especially when I’m starting something new, I like to see the finished product both to stay inspired and to know I’m on the right track.  Or completely derailed, which is valuable information, too.

To check out this book on Amazon, here you go:

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

I’ve been advertising this course from Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs for awhile now and it’s because I really think this program has value to normal, working class foodies like us.  I wasn’t raised with real foods principles although my religion has a law of health that gave us a good foundation.  Back when I was young, we still thought the food pyramid provided by the FDA was accurate.  I’ve had to completely reboot my understanding of what I thought was true where healthy food was concerned.  Mostly, from that religious background, my principles were sound but my technique was off base and I’ve had to retrain my brain when it comes to food preparation.  If you’re any kind of budget planner you already know that the switch from certain store bought staples to more food produced at home and higher quality components means a change in how we spend our money.

Tiffany takes you through the ins and outs of learning to use a budget planner with real foods menu creation.  Her program can teach anyone, whatever your level of experience, how to create frugal real food meal plans for real families on real budgets.  She’s the first to say that those budgets will look different for everyone.  She compiled some comments from her readers in a great post on the topic of eating real food on a budget; you can visit that link here.   To learn more about her program or to purchase, please visit her site by clicking on the ad below.

Thrive Online and Pantry Paratus

Thrive is an online real foods store – like my local health food store but way cheaper and it comes to my door.  Wanna know one of my big beefs with “crunchy” grocery stores?  Small aisles.  I’m sure I offend some earth-friendly notions with my large family of five children but, whatever the sensibilities, my money is just as good as anyone else’s and I need room in the store to stop and read labels, peruse my options and compare prices.  There’s hardly room for two carts to pass in my local health food stores, let alone for me and my kids to consider our purchases.  Just a weird little gripe of mine.

But with Thrive, I don’t have to worry about getting my kids in the car or even getting out of my PJs to go shopping.  They have almost every dry good I buy locally and they’re hoping to expand into perishable grocery items soon.  With free shipping on orders over $50, they’re able to compete with my Amazon Prime membership and even my local Costco for many items.  Like Costco and Amazon, after a one month free trial, there is a membership fee for Thrive.  Gluten Free, Raw, Paleo, Non-GMO items are all featured at Thrive.  Stop in and check them out, with no obligation to do anything but nose around, by clicking on the ad below.

The thing I think I like best about Pantry Paratus (which means “kitchen self-sufficiency”) is that they offer so much in the way of education.  They’re an online, real food market, too, with quality products and great sales and specials.  They also run a fantastic blog with so much important information.  It was there that I first read about the conditions under which much of the chocolate trade is operated and why buying fair trade certified products is important.  Chaya also got me seriously considering a Berkey filter for our family because of the clear presentation of the product in her store.  Plus, Pantry Paratus is just good people – love the free shipping for oversees military!!  Please click on the ad below to learn more.

Real people’s real food, really budgeted, real posts

I love blog posts for their brevity and specific topics.  I find inspiration from the bloggers I associate with and I think you will, too.  Here are some posts on the topic of using a budget planner, of various kinds and methods, to achieve real food results.

General Budgeting and Savings

  • I love, love, love Angi’s down to earth money saving tips because her family is about the same size as mine and she seems to speak my language.  Here is her advice on planning meals when money is tight, which includes a free download!  Please click here to visit his post.  If you’re struggling with un- or under-employment, I can highly recommend her Hope e-book, too.  Just click on the ad below to know more.

  • Please meet Rebecca, my go to girl on being smart about money, who blogs at Letters From Sunnybrook.  She’s currently helping me with sage advice and wisdom on a bigger project I’m wrestling with and I had a chance to delve into her writing many times recently.  Again, it’s the down to earth, practical advice for real people that resonates with me.  She doesn’t use cliché quips in her writing – everything has a personal example or a real life motivation attached to it.  Here are two great ones from her – for how to save on groceries without coupons, please visit this link.  For a quick bit of advice on comparing your grocery budget to others’ and cut your down even further, please visit this link.
  • If you’ve already started making the switch from standard American foods to real foods and had some kind of sticker shock, you simply have to read this post by the Reluctant Naturalist on Pantry Paratus.  It will make you feel better, like you’re not the only one out there struggling with this stuff.  Please visit this link.
  • This was a fun one by They’re Not Our Goats – a grocery challenge she issued to herself.  She couldn’t realistically do the no-spend for a month challenge that some bloggers write about but she could manage a $25 challenge.  What I like about this post is that it’s inspiringly normal – I feel like she and I could be friends  because if she could do it, maybe I could tag along, too.  Yeah, I could totally do this!  Please visit this link.
  • Especially useful in this post by Tenth Acre Farm is her observations about CSAs vs. Farmer’s Markets.  Even if you disagree with her, there is great food for thought here.  The goal of every homesteader and frugal, hard working people everywhere is to be able to produce all their own food in their gardens.  Well, here’s what to do if you can’t grow ALL your own food – please visit this link.

  • One of my favorite pieces of advice in this guest post Sarah, of Grounded and Surrounded, did for The Humbled Homemaker was to find a BFF – Best Foodie Friend.  Staying motivated and making it work is going to require support and ingenuity; you’re going to need someone who’s got your back.  For other great tips, please visit this link.
  • Anna’s number three step on her 7 Steps to Feed a Family on a Budget is controversial – what do you think of it?  Please click here to read it.
  • Other worthies of mention: from Whole New Mom, 12 Ways to Stretch your Grocery Budget and, for the homesteader who can save money doing a variety of things themselves and saving money all over the homestead, 11 Secrets to Save Money on the Homestead by The Frugal Chicken.

Brand Name Savings

  • If you have a smaller family and have been accustomed to eating out a lot but want to switch to a real foods diet, Annemarie Rossi of Real Foods Deals did a worthwhile guest post on Whole New Mom about the money you can save by shopping at Costco.  She highlighted items like their organic eggs and grass fed dairy products.  Please visit this link.
  • Simplify, live, love has a great post on learning to order from Azure Standard; she also explains what Azure Standard is for those who only have a vague idea, like me.  Please visit this post here.  Then, she did a guest post on Grounded and Surrounded with 5 tips for aximizing your order and helping you become more savvy with the ordering process online.  Please visit this post here.

Kitchen Hacks and Making Your Own

To get several chapters of information devoted to making your own, healthifying your kitchen, using products from your homestead, producing more on your homestead and much more, please sign up to learn about the release of The Do It Yourself Homestead.  This book has something for every level of experience and every size homestead.  Join our Book Circle to learn more about the book and receive special offers and discounts.

  • 20+ Recipe Hacks from The 104 Homestead will teach you how to make your own stuff to replace store bought – from ice cream to tortillas, this one is so helpful for keeping out of the store and shopping in your pantry first!  Please visit the post here.
  • Frugal Chicken offers tips on how to eat seasonally even if you’re an urban dweller.  How can eating foods in their natural season save you money?  First of all, if you can buy local and, even better, direct from the farmer, you completely eliminate the cost of the middle man (the store) and the fuel it takes to truck a field “ripened” tomato from Mexico to Colorado – or wherever you live.  Eating foods in their season means you’re harvesting the sunshine by eating actually ripe food.  This post talks about fermenting your foods for some new flavors as the seasons change; as well as learning skills like cheese making and sprouting.  Some great ideas here!  Please visit the post here.
  • How about 20 different ways to build a whole food kitchen on a half price budget?  Well, here you go, from The Organic Prepper – please visit this post here.
  • Karen, from Lil’ Suburban Homestead, encourages us to stop thinking about fast food and start thinking about long food – she means, foods that can be stored and used against a day of want.  Certainly learning to preserve your harvest is going to mean that you control exactly what goes into your food storage products.  Long and short term food storage plans in your home pantry is just smart and economical.  However, you don’t need a situation of extreme want to benefit from food preservation.  How about a simple, “I want a pumpkin pie in March when pumpkins aren’t ripe andavailable?  Whatever am I to do?”  Karen helps you out with that, so please click to visit this link.
  • Here’s another on the practicalities of a home storage program.  From controlling costs to saving time, Chris from Joybilee Farm has got this topic locked down in her very fabulous post.  Please visit this link.
  • Especially love tips #5, #6 and #10 on this great post by Farm Girl Inspirations.  I’m also learning more about tip #12.  Tip #15 wasn’t how I was raised but I’ve since discovered that I love these meals!!  Please click here to read the post.

 So, there you go – I hope that helps!  It certainly has edified me doing the research for this post.  I’ve made some concrete goals for the next few months and, although it’s scribbled out on the back of my desk calendar, I have the fledgling beginning of a real foods budget planner!  If you have a great tip for me, please make sure to leave it in the comments below – you can never have too much inspiration.


DisclaimerInformation offered on the Homestead Lady website is for educational purposes only. Read my full disclaimer HERE.

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10 thoughts on “Real Food Budget Planner

  1. Wow, Tessa, what an amazing compilation of resources here! I am honored to be included 🙂 I’ll definitely have to check out the others as well.

    Spending on food is one of the more variable categories in the household budget, and where most people wind up spending more than they can afford. Smart shopping, menu planning, and cooking from scratch make such a big difference and can keep down the rising cost of groceries. I’m sure these tips and resources will help out many who may be struggling to cut spending.

    1. As always, you’re an inspiration to me and I couldn’t imagine putting together a post like that without links from you! Speaking of, I need to menu plan before I head to Costco. We’re moving in a few weeks and it’s a weird thing to have to plan and shop but not plan too far ahead. I always but a bit of food storage with our grocery money and it’s difficult to make myself stop – just for a few weeks. 🙂

    1. Ooh, what did you get? I may need to start using Azure myself once we move more rural – there isn’t a Sprout on every corner where we’re headed. Fortunately, there are A LOT more farmers and most of them are Amish!

  2. Oh my! I cannot wait to explore all these suggestions. Like you, I wasn’t raised on whole foods – frozen chicken pot pies (4/$1) were my favorite ;-). I really like Tiffany’s course and loved Amy’s post on CSAs – although I prefer a farmer’s market. I can’t wait to visit the other links. Thanks for including our simple menu planning and our unemployment book.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing my post- and WOW, what an amazing list of resources you have here! It’s funny, because now I feel like my regular grocery budget is extravagant after the $25 challenge. I’m going to have to go through all these for inspiration to keep it moderate in the months ahead!

    1. It was a great post and I was happy to share it! Every time I spend any money I feel extravagant – I can’t seem to keep a happy medium on the emotional aspect of spending money on groceries, especially when I’m buying something I could, technically, make myself.

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