Paleo: Budget friendly tips you can actually USE

I read articles all the time on how to conserve money when eating paleo because hey… grass-fed meat, organic vegetables… this stuff gets expensive. I understand. I’m living the food bill nightmare. However, all of these articles I read do not give a lot of tips that are relevant to my life. For instance: Buy a deep freeze to keep whole halves of animals. Not feasible for a grad student living in a studio apartment. Now, those tips are great for a young family of four, but for me on my own, not useful. I’m going to go over my own personal tips for younger people on their own, and I’ll make reference to some articles that I think will be useful for more established families.

1. Buy cheaper cuts of meat. 

Chicken is probably the cheapest meat, and the easiest to store. Remember, dark meat and chicken skin are ok on paleo as long as they are raised the right way. I love chicken thighs, and they are so cheap compared to chicken breasts. I buy a big batch, say 10 thighs, and freeze them in bags of 2 since they are usually small. Then I can take a bag out of the freezer in the morning and put in the fridge to thaw to have for dinner. Another tricky thing to do with chicken thighs is to save the grease from the pan and freeze it in ice cube trays to use for cooking other things later. Saves you on your coconut oil and grass-fed butter bill.

2. Only buy fresh veggies that you plan on eating raw. If you’re going to cook it, buy it frozen.

I buy fresh veggies for salads, but if it’s something I plan on roasting or boiling, I buy it frozen. This is much cheaper and lasts much longer.  A few of my favorite frozen veggie purchases are frozen chopped onions for soups and stir fries, and frozen California blend veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. I just add some garlic powder and salt and roast them in foil. Now if you ask me honestly, I would say I prefer fresh vegetables for everything. However, I can’t deny that it’s much cheaper, and me being on my own, I don’t go through an entire onion before it spoils, and I don’t go through fresh heads of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots before they all spoil. It just makes sense to buy frozen. Make sure they don’t come with all that preservative-laden sauce on them.

3. Find a good place to get eggs. Preferably not the grocery store. 

I live in the city, so I usually end up buying eggs from the grocery store. I buy organic which are usually around $4/dozen. Regular eggs are about $1.29/dozen. My parents live in the country, so every time I’m home, I make sure to pick up some local eggs which are $1/dozen, and most likely more organic than what I bought in the store. I also tend to eat eggs every day because they are cheaper than meat and full of magic, I swear. Zucchini LatkesEgg MuffinsFritatta

magic egg

4. Make expensive meat last awhile.

When I buy a nice expensive pound of grass-fed ground beef, I don’t usually make burgers, or meatloaf, or meat bagels. Yes, those exist. I make something like paleo chili, so that I get some grass-fed beef for the next three or four days. If I really get on a protein kick, I just eat some tuna. I don’t like the can much, I go for those little pouches. FYI, they also have salmon in those pouches. I think the salmon tastes better plain than the tuna. Or a hard boiled egg. Just saying, eggs are magic.

5. Watch for meat sales, but use that meat quickly.

Grocery stores tend to have meat sales when they have a surplus of something. This means that the meat could be old. Whole Foods has periodic sales on ground beef, and I usually buy some and either use it or freeze it within 2 days.

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6. Watch for affordable farmers markets

There are farmers markets in the city, but fresh produce is in such high demand that the prices are usually higher than the grocery store. This is not always the case, so I checked out a few different farmers markets in my area to see which had the most reasonable prices. This is the best way to get fresh vegetables, especially if you are into canning. I’m not, I don’t have the time or the space to store all of that, but a farmers market is a great place to get bulk veggies for canning.

7. Buy produce in season.

This tip is in almost every money-saving article because it is so true. In season produce is cheaper, tastes better, and has more nutrients.

Other articles you may find useful:

http://blog.paleohacks.com/ultimate-guide-to-eating-paleo-on-a-budget/

http://thepaleomama.com/2013/10/30cheapmaindishpaleomeals/

http://ohsnapletseat.com/2013/05/13/how-to-eat-paleo-on-a-budget-2/

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