Eating Locally Saves Money
Not being an expert on the history of food in the United States, I’m not sure when we developed the perception that eating healthy had to be expensive, but it probably one of the least rational arguments I am aware of.
Next time you are in a major city take a drive through an immigrant neighborhood and take note of the amount of vegetable gardens you see on balconies or shoved between buildings. In most other countries around the world shopping in stores, eating in restaurants, or ordering food from other countries are the luxuries of the rich and famous. Eating farm fresh food, having a garden, and getting meat from an animal you knew, are the reality of the impoverished majority.
With the decline in home cooking, people have forgotten that healthy food exists outside the walls of your local Whole Foods store. My husband and I both work part time to allow time for our graduate school studies, but that comes at a cost… literally. Our grocery budget is, ideally, less than fifty dollars a week . Again, I don’t eat grains, sugar, or legumes and most of our food is local and organic.
So, how can eating locally help your grocery bill? We already discussed that it lowers the cost associated with fuel and travel. Costs associated with packing and chemicals are also eliminated, for the most part. However, the biggest cost saving advantage of shopping locally is that it forces you to cook!
While writing this post I started to do some research in order to find quotes on how cooking at home can save money, and then I realized… this is one thing I am knowledgeable about, I don’t need someone else to talk about it. So, here are four ways cooking at home and locally can save money
- Buying ingredients costs less then buying a premade meal. Last week I bought three giant sweet potatoes for a dollar. Yet, I cannot count the number of times I have gone to a restaurant and had to pay an extra dollar to sub a handful of sweet potato fries for French fries.
- Once you stock up on staples you have to buy very little. If you don’t cook regularly you may go through a period of having to buy a lot of spices and sauces required by a recipe, however once those things are purchased you very rarely have to refill them and your grocery list becomes only the main ingredients in a recipe which generally don’t cost as much.
- You can create leftovers. Only being a family of two right now, I rely on leftovers to stretch my grocery budget. I cook on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and the rest of the time we eat leftovers. I make meals that will specifically provide us with an adequate amounts of leftovers to get us through the week. So, as I mentioned in my Quiche recipe post, for under ten dollars we got a dinner for two, lunch for two, and breakfast for two. That is less than 2 dollars a meal.
- You have control over the market. Buying food at a grocery store means that you can take better advantage of sales, coupons, and cost cutting measures than if you were just ordering takeout. For example, later this week I am going to talk about jointing a chicken for its parts. Buying a whole chicken and cutting the parts up yourself means that for less than 15 dollars I got more than two weeks worth of local, organic chicken meat. Find me a deal like that in a restaurant and I will be your dinner date!
There are many more ways cooking at home can help cut costs, but those are the main ones that come to mind today.
Now that I have completed my three part speech on how eating locally can help change the world, I hope that you all have a better understanding of why I feel this topic is important and why it warrants discussion. We spend days upon days researching quick fixes to individual problems, we try fad diets, get-rich-quick schemes, and the latest fashion trends, so why, when an easy opportunity exists, to make lasting change in our lives and the lives of our communities would we not take advantage of it?