Money Talks: Part Two

The garden

You can use money as an excuse to choose cheap, processed foods, but when you’re really ready to dive in I want you to know, it is simply an excuse.  Clear heads, energy, regular bowels, and pain-free joints–they do not come from a box.  I know I have lurkers who wonder if they can do this.  They wonder if they can commit.  Their spouse wants to know, “Can we do it on the same budget?”

You can.  You won’t break the bank.  Read on for more ways to make eating fresh, real food more economical.  Read yesterday’s post for more.  And tomorrow’s post for even more.  NO excuses.  Effort?  Yes.  Excuses?  That’s what they are:  excuses that enable bad eating.

Learn to cook

Let’s face it.  Four years ago, I was just a crummy cook who knew how to boil pasta and mix white flour, butter, and sugar.  Since then, I’ve learned how to use most all vegetables and spices.  My fear of fish and lamb are gone.  My fear of the grill is gone.  I’ve learned how to combine what’s left in my kitchen to something my family loves.  By learning to cook, you can buy sale items with confidence.  You can use cheaper cuts of meat and spices and transform a table to gourmet, although it costs less than steak and chicken breasts.  You’ll be able to eye a recipe quickly to decide if it’s a good fit for your family or not.  Find a friend and don’t be embarrassed to ask them to help you learn how to cook.  It will save you from ill-health and save you money.

Make homemade broth

Never spend money on packaged broth again!  Homemade broth just requires leftover scraps of meat, bones, and water (or leftover scraps of vegetables for you vegetarians).  Recycling at its finest!  You’re making something awesome out of food you’d normally just throw in the trash.  How’s that for saving money AND being quite the cook?  Make broth to add nutrition, flavor, and save money.

Count the cost of what you don’t buy:  soda pop, junk food, breakfast cereal, and meals out

Spend the next two months adding up the price of all the drinks, processed/packaged food, cereals, and meals you eat out.  Count it all up.  Every stinking penny of it.  Every quick run through the drive-through for a latte or Diet Coke.  What you tally up may surprise you!  Marketers want your money.  They’re probably getting it.  Especially if you use coupons.  Don’t see many coupons for kale.  Poor kale farmer.  Save money by not buying processed foods and meals out.

Start using the fat skimmed off of meat in place of oil:  bacon, lard, tallow

I used to drain all the fat and set it aside to trash when it cooled.  Now, I’m much more likely to save it in the pan to sauté some onions and broccoli in or store it in the fridge to use to sauté chicken in later.  The fats that we can save from cooking our meats, those are the fats that allow us to better absorb vitamin D and other “fat-soluble” vitamins that we need and are known to be deficient in.  I avoid vegetable oil, corn oil, Crisco, and margarine because they incorporate into our cells in “broken” forms which need fixed.  Using left-over drippings saves money, saves waste, and avoids use of rancid (spoiled) vegetable-derived oils.

Learn to can.  Do it with friends. 

It’s fun and creates good memories.  I have tons of memories of my mom, Aunt, and Grandma canning together.  Happy memories.  I have good memories of canning with good friends too.  Canning vegetables and fruits picked at peak nutrition saves money and creates lasting bonds with friends and families.

Buy lots of fruit in season. 

Then can it.  Cook it.  Freeze it.  Just get it when it’s cheap.  99 cents per pound.

Use co-ops and CSA baskets

Sometimes it takes a knowing a person to get you the information, but most communities now have co-ops and produce baskets where you get fresh-from-the-farm produce at a good price.  Amazingly, instead of complaining, most people I know love it when they get something they haven’t had before because they like to “figure it out.”  So if you’re willing to learn and experiment, these are great!  Ask around, getting fresh produce from a co-op or CSA basket saves significantly.

Drive to the farm

Straight from the source saves money.  And many like to chat.  I’ve learned so much from our 83 year-old farm woman about chickens, eggs, cows, and canning.  She is amazing.  Many farmers are talkers and love to share.  Buying food from the farm saves money.

Ask a friend to pledge to eat 90% whole, real foods with you

Having a comrade shares the joy, the pain, and the cost.  You can split bulk orders.  You can get together once a month and cook casseroles to freeze.  You can can together.  You can share good recipes.  Going in with a partner can save money.

Make soup so nothing goes to waste

Learning to use up everything in the kitchen saves money.  Soup is a great, economical way to stretch a budget.  Of course, you’ll need to learn to cook so you can figure out how to meld all those ingredients together.   But with the homemade broth, vegetables you froze from in season, and what’s going south in the fridge, you can make some very taste concoctions.  Soups are economical.

Skip those froo-froo drinks

Strangely, this one gets people!  Water just doesn’t do it for them.  Crazy how far we’ve come when water doesn’t sound good.  All purchased drinks seem to cost so much money, even bottled water (which is teeming with plastic run-off).  Save money and your health by sticking with water in a glass cup.

There are more

Oh, yes!  There are more tips tomorrow.  Have you been reading?  If so, which tip, in your mind may be the most important?  I’m almost bordering on the “Learn to cook” one.  Probably second is “Buy it in season.”  And probably the most important concept is gathering the drive and effort.  With drive and effort, nearly all barriers can be navigated.




19 thoughts on “Money Talks: Part Two

  1. JL

    Something that my Dr. mentioned because of my mom’s severe allergy to almost all things synthetic is about the plastic containers that our food comes in. He recommended to her to keep all her food in glass containers and jars. I wonder just how much plastic seeps into food and exactly what those consequences are. Especially because in some cases you can actually taste the plastic. Just a thought. . .
    Thanks for the extra tips on eating fresh! I look forward to your next post!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      This worries me a lot too. Even if it’s not the “BPA” plastics, I still don’t like plastic. It messes with hormones. Our plastic is mostly swapped out for glass. Plastics are everywhere, and everyone sports a bottle of water. How long has that water been in that bottle? How much by-product has seeped in? And my husband tries to heat his leftover restaurant food in Styrofoam. He about died of a head injury. Bad enough it was stored in Styrofoam and he’s going to eat it.

  2. EmilyMaine

    i love it – don’t see many coupons for kale! hehe I still consider myself relatively new at this (in that I haven’t even reached the buying in season part yet but I am now trying – it helps that I use a grocer now and they mostly only stock what is in season). So I would say learning to cook is the biggie. And figuring out the cooking short cuts. It seems like a MASSIVE effort to begin with this whole cooking from scratch thing and it is an effort if you aren’t used to it. I think my tip would be to be prepared for that, don’t expect it to be easy. but put in the hard yards knowing it will get better. I just taught my 3 year old to ride without training wheels. At first, he couldn’t do it. But we practiced, practiced, practiced. As I was watching him I thought to myself, you could really apply this theory to pretty much anything in life. If you practice enough, you will get there.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      “I think my tip would be to be prepared for that, don’t expect it to be easy…taught my 3 year old to ride without training wheels…if you practice enough, you will get there ” You said it!

      I’ve been trying to pay attention to shortcuts to get ideas for a post because time is a huge barrier, for some, nearly insurmountable.

      May your day go smoothly and your weekend perfectly.


  3. Tim

    I know for a lot of people it’s all about the money. I was following some folks around SafeWay the other day as they picked up bacon, eggs, muffins, butter and then started adding it up. They tossed everything in the orange juice cooler and said, “Let’s just go to McDonalds!”

    But, people need to get out of their comfort zone. I love all your ideas here. And the whole family can get involved. I’ve been gardening my whole life, sometimes it’s not cost-effective, but the rewards are priceless. How do you put a price tag on that first crunchy radish? Those frozen beets in January? HOME GROWN TOMATOES!!!?

    Here’s a couple other advanced ideas: Fishing, hunting, raising chickens for eggs or meat, raising meat animals, beekeeping. Fishing is a good gateway into all of this, and another family friendly activity.

    Have a great Summer!

      1. Tim

        Sad, but true. It is way cheaper to buy food at a fast-food joint than to buy similar ingredients and make them at home. Which brings me to another point…home cooking now seems to try to emulate fast-food.

        Restaurants used to try to copy ‘home-cooking’. But somewhere along the way, everything flipped. Now comfort food is fast food…macaroni and cheese, bite-sized hamburgers, pizza, milk shakes. People don’t want to actually cook at home, they want to go from box to mouth in as few steps as possible and be rewarded with tasty food. Who has time to marinate?

        In 2011, I went through our pantry and filled two large garbage bags with boxes of Hamburger Helper, instant oatmeal, Pop-Tarts, potato chips, cereal, canned soup, canned vegetables, granola bars and protein bars. It’s disgusting what we eat. Yet, I see it piled high in every grocery cart at the supermarket.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I know. The supermarket makes me angry–just like when I walk into the OTC department of a pharmacy. There are not that many basic drugs, and yet all the marketers mix and match and color and flavor them all up to get people to buy their products. It’s sickening. I can’t even find plain, uncolored diphenhydramine.

  4. Simple Days Making for Exciting Adventures

    Love this post! I am with ya on the cooking! Pre-kids, I think I cooked two or three meals. Now thanks to pinterest and the internet and my favorite cook book, I feel like I can cook anything! LOL! I know you guys don’t do any/much grains, but we do a little bit. I find that we appreciate them more because it is a treat to get bread (mainly because we make it at home usually), tortillas or muffins not made from almond meal.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      My husband used to do the meat most times! I dabble with grains we tolerate, which seems to be rice. The other grains, we seem to hit a brick wall against, so we keep them to a bare minimum. I’m a big fan of making the diet as broad as it can be without side effects (GI distress, headaches, mood instability, fatigue, overeating/craving re-opening, skin rashes, nasal allergy symptoms, etc.). I’d love to eat a more traditional Weston A Price “foodstlye” but it doesn’t fly here. My farmer lady taught me how to grind grain! If we ever get to that point, that would be fun.

  5. andthreetogo

    I think learning to cook and finding a friend to do it with you! I need to do both of those things. 🙂 These are all great tips though… useful and easy really!

  6. Pingback: Money Talks: Part Three (And Final) | The HSD

  7. All Seasons Cyclist

    I’m glad your fear of fish and lamb are gone. However, when we’ve tried to cook fish at home I feel like I am stealing something from the cat. As for lamb, I will never cook it as good as what I’ve grown accustomed to while visiting Greece and Turkey (they both have a long history of cooking lamb to perfection).

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      No way (will I ever be able to cook it like that in Greece or Turkey–or like the Greeks and Turks I ate when I was in Germany eating out), but they are my inspiration! Mmm-mmm-mmm. I love ethnic food! Fish–ah–on the Mediterranean in Spain. Enough. I’m in South Dakota. And the beef is good. I’m glad your cat is healthy (eating your fish).


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