Making muscadine jelly, August 2008
* I buy local food in season when I can. This summer, I am hoping to expand our pantry and freezer offerings (darn you, drought!), but here, in March, we are still enjoying the fruits of our labors from July and August.
* I buy what’s on sale. (Duh.) Recently, I have started using coupons again, because I interviewed an expert “couponer” who said, “Coupons are cash.” Of course they are. Why didn't that occur to me before? (Story coming soon in Upstate Parent magazine.)
* I pay more for a few things on our list. Milk comes from our local, organic dairy. I buy Amish butter because once you’ve had it, everything else is just margarine. In warm weather, I buy local, free-range eggs – they are actually about the same price as regular, cruelty-laden, can’t-be-good-for-you grocery store eggs. As a really poor alternative in winter, I buy cage-free eggs. (“Cage-free” doesn’t mean much, I know.) We buy local, grass-fed beef in bulk. It’s more expensive than the stuff at the regular grocery store, but about half the price of grass-fed beef at Whole Foods.
*And on that note, since I am a vegetarian, our household really doesn’t consume that much meat anyway. Even the carnivores here enjoy veggie meals: beans and rice, veggie lo mein, soups, etc.
* If I can make it myself, I do. This started as a healthier, less processed way to feed my family, but it is significantly less expensive. That $4 loaf of gourmet bread? It’s about a dollar’s worth of ingredients and so much better than even a bakery loaf.
What are your ideas for spending less without compromising quality?