One of our goals as a family is to adopt at least one child. We are diligently trying to become debt free and our goal is to be completely debt free (aside from our mortgage) before we adopt.
As with many goals in life, our quest to be debt free is slow going. Living off one income, choosing to eat local and/or organic foods as much as possible, and paying of debt takes a lot of prayer and planning.
We’ve found that making products from scratch does save money in the long run, but, of course, it often requires large chunks of time- a rarity with a baby under one year old.
So, how do we do it? Well, to be perfectly honest, sometimes we just don’t have the money to buy all organic or local. We rely on our common sense and try to make wholesome choices for our family- organic or not. For instance, have you heard of the dirty dozen? It is a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables that have the highest amounts of pesticides. We try to only buy the fruits and veggies that are on this list from local farmers who do not use pesticides or from the organics section in our supermarket. Similarly, there is a list of the 12 cleanest fruits and veggies. If we want to buy any of these, we usually buy them from a grocery store at the cheapest price we can find.
We try to stock up on things when they are in season. Zucchini is quite cheap right now at the farmer’s market so I bought a bunch of it and froze it for making zucchini bread in the winter.
We also ask ourselves quite frequently, “Do we really need ____?” We use cloth diapers, and we’ve switched to using cloth napkins. We also try to use cloth dish towels as much as possible in place of paper towels. If we need something, we first think about a way to either make it ourselves or come up with some other solution to avoid buying whatever it is. Here is an example: We really wanted something small in our living room to put our daughter’s toys in. Rather than buying a basket or a bin, we ended up using an old picnic basket that we found in our attic.
Often, we’ve found that if we use our imagination or don’t mind taking the extra time to make something ourselves, we are able to have what we need (or want) without spending any extra cash.
My latest money-saving idea is keeping a log of the groceries we buy and how long they last us. (This was inspired by Thomas Jefferson. He kept a log of everything relating to his home- crops, weather, food, and so forth). A lot of our products I buy online because it is cheaper than buying them from our local health food store. There are discounts for buying in bulk, so I’ve started keeping a journal of things like coconut oil, Rapadura (alternative sugar), and such so I can get an idea of how much we consume over the course of several months. My hope is that we’ll be able to buy what we need in bulk and save money that way (a side benefit is that I won’t need to go grocery shopping as frequently…). I still need to figure out how much of each item I’d need to buy in bulk for it to be worth our while.
What about you? How do you save money, but still manage to eat wholesome foods?