Want to save money on groceries and eat local? There are several things you can do to start eating local and save more money on food!
Food costs are rising, along with just about everything else. Most of us are trying to find ways to stretch our food budget these days.
Sometimes it’s hard to think about other food related issues like the environmental issues when we are just trying to keep our grocery budgets under control.
There are ways you can still save money on food but also eat in a more environmentally-friendly way by eating more locally produced food.
How to Save Money and Eat Local Food
Quit Eating Fast Food
Occasionally eating fast food is fine but the more you can avoid it the better. It may seem quick and cheap but it adds up and really in the time you drive somewhere, wait in line, and get back home you haven’t really saved time.
There are many ways to eat at home even when you don’t have much time, use a crockpot, make meals ahead of time and freeze them, or cook quick meals like fish
You can also check in local community groups to see if anyone is making pre-made meals using natural and local ingredients that you can buy to have on hand for those busy days.
Start Meal Planning
Americans waste a lot of food and that translates to a lot of money. Planning your meals and shopping with a list can help make sure you buy what you need and don’t end up having to throw out food.
You can even take it a step further and meal prep or at least prep some of your ingredients to help save you time in the kitchen.
Join a CSA
For many years we had the wonderful Oklahoma Food Cooperative. It was the best way to get local food straight from our wonderful farms. Sadly a few years ago it closed.
Thankfully all over the US you can join a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. These CSAs allow you get food straight from small farms often for less money than buying the same food at the grocery store.
Shop Farmer’s Markets
Like with a CSA, you will be cutting out the middleman. You can find so many great local products at farmer’s markets and it’s a lot of fun to get to know the people producing your food.
You can find farmer’s markets all over the country and world. Some are open all year and others open seasonally. While open they can be a great source for affordable local food.
Buy in Bulk
If you have items your family uses a lot of, talk to the producer about buying in bulk, some allow this and will give a discount.
You can find the local producers at farmer’s markets or even in local community groups on Facebook or NextDoor. Ask around and you are sure to find some great local food y0u can buy in bulk.
Grow Your Own
Growing your own food can be fun and will save you a lot of money. Starting a garden doesn’t have to be hard. You can start very small, even just a few pots on your porch can be a good way to get started.
Be sure to start with things that are easy to grow and you are sure your family will eat. No point in growing things no one will want to eat.
You will even find a free garden planner at the end of this post to help you get started.
Cook From Scratch
Cooking from scratch is a great way to save money and reduce packaging waste. Many things we think of as being hard to make, really aren’t. Take it slow and try one new from scratch recipe a week or a month.
You can even make your own mixes for things like cake mix, pancake mix, seasoning mixes, and other things you may usually buy from the store. Many of these options taste better and are cheaper.
As people start to do more of their grocery shopping online you are starting to find ways to buy local food online. Some farms will allow you to buy online and will deliver to you or a local drop-off.
You can also buy local meat from small farms using the site Crowd Cow. It allows you to buy smaller amounts of meat from small farms while many require you to buy whole animals.
You can pick which farms to buy from and all of it’s delivered to your door packed in eco-friendly packaging with lots of dry ice to keep it cold and fresh.
More Frugal Resources
Want even more ways to save money while living green? Check out these resources.