Thursday, May 17, 2012

Simple Life grocery shopping

Since we had around two hours of free time while driving to Kamloops the other day, Derek and I were talking about how our spending habits have changed in the last few years, and specifically how our grocery shopping has changed.

Our choices have changed because we live on a pretty small budget and because we are always learning about food - what is good for us and what isn't. The internet, of course, is a double edged sword but what I really like about it is the HUGE access to information about nutrition and health and quite frankly about

all the CRAP in our food these days!

I think the main reason why we can go without certain foods is because we had too. When things got really tough for us financially in 2009 and then again in late 2010 and early 2011 we had to do without what I now call  - luxuries. We could barely afford the staples like milk and bread let alone anything else. And when we were in the USA for the winter of 2010/11 we ate a lot, and I mean a lot, of beans.

What we realized, when we did have a bit more money to spend, was that we didn't actually NEED the stuff we thought we did, and we didn't miss it.

Now - don't get me wrong - we don't suffer.
We eat very well and I'd say we are average to better then average in the 'eating what we should' category. We work at eating right most of the time so that we can not eat right for a bit of the time.

China town in Victoria BC - we prefer to buy our produce locally at fruit and veggie stands - those items we don't grow ourselves of course.

It just so happens that I am interested in learning about food - in what we should be eating for our health and how to make things from scratch - because it is better for us and much cheaper.

Here is a list of things that we would have purchased (and items with certain ingredients) before but don't now:  (I notice that many have to do with sugar amounts.)

1. cookies, baked goods, granola bars - we make all of our own
2. flavoured yogurt - at least 15 years ago I heard an interview with a man who said that flavoured (fruit) yogurt is VERY high in sugar - since then and ever since then, I do as he suggested - buy plain yogurt and add our own fruit and sweetner
3. nothing with artificial sweetener - and I mean NOTHING
4. pop - I have never been a big pop drinker - maybe a few a week at certain times - tops - but with all the bad press going around on fb lately - I have pretty much eliminated it - I'll only have a coke, which I LOVE - when we go out to eat - and since that is rare my pop drinking is now also rare
5. nothing with high fructose corn syrup - and I mean NOTHING
6. salsa - so easy and cheap to make your own and tastes 1000% better
7. salad dressing - can't say I have ever really bought much of it - more so since I got married for some reason - I've stopped now and will getting back on course of making all my own dressings.
8. soup - why why why eat the canned stuff?
9. french fries - ya - we've bought the frozen ones before but not now - heck we even like ours better then most restaurants - I coat my sliced potatoes in parmesan and bread crumbs or panko - drizzle with oil and bake - they come out crispy every time. I'm going to try sweet potatoes next - Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff promises that if we coat the sliced sweet potatoes in cornstarch and drizzle and bake they will be crispy - fingers crossed!
10. pizza - LOVE LOVE LOVE pizza - I make the whole thing from scratch and it is great (ya - I'm saying that I make a great pizza) maybe I'll make one for a Sunday Cook post soonish.

That's just my top ten - no need to go on and on. Suffice to say that we work at limiting the processed foods we purchase and consume.

There are many foods that you can and should make at home to save money and so that they are healthier to eat. The items  I am going to work on this summer to make myself are: yogurt, bread, pasta sauce, ketchup, ice cream, pudding, beef jerky, almond milk, coconut milk, crackers, and many more (especially after another session of pinterest!).

Here is a great link 45 Healthy Foods to Make and Never Buy Again from Greatist.

We definitely enjoyed shopping at local stands in Florida this past winter - oranges at Sparkman's and....

... strawberries and produce at the Strawberry Palace in Plant City.

One thing I don't seem to do much to save money on groceries is use coupons. I read a great article about this on a blog but can't seem to find it now. The blogger explained that she seldom uses coupons because of the types of places they shop - such at farmer's markets and from the Amish - plus she made an unbelievable amount of her own foods. I WISH that was us. What I find is that coupons seem to be for the extra stuff - paper towels and air fresheners I can think of off hand. However, I do remember to stop and look upon entry into the store.

But I do shop the sales and stock up - definitely!

And I have to say we probably follow almost all of Andrea's 50 Tips for Saving on Groceries. A VERY thorough list by the way.

I'll most likely write more posts over the summer about grocery shopping and living a simple life. I don't feel like I have covered it all this post and there are lots of resources that I have found that I would like to share.

You may have noticed that I have been working on the design. Rather then just do it all at once I have decided just to chip away at it - so it may look different each time you visit for the next few weeks. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to try to have it done by the long weekend - well the long weekend is here and I'm not done! That's ok - I feel like I have enough of an idea about how I want it to look and now it is just a matter of doing it. My next task is to teach myself how to add the social icons in a group to the top of the margin. Feel free to comment on the redesign.

Thanks for visiting!

PS - I won't be back again until Sunday with another Sunday Cook. It is a long weekend here in Canada and since we manage two campgrounds, we are pretty busy.


Today's Interesting Link: I just found this site called the Centsible Life by Kelly - a mom of four. She has lots of articles about budgeting and DIY and such - another resource for learning how to life simple. In her profile she says that she is a lover of coffee and chocolate so she sounds all right to me! 

1 comment:

  1. The new looks is nice and clean. Al the expensive processed foods out there now are pretty scary, and expensive. It is nice that you take the time to make your own stuff.


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