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8 Ways to Eat Green by Slashing Your Grocery Bill

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8 Ways to Eat Green by Slashing Your Grocery Bill

By Blythe Copland, Planet Green

If you’ve been hesitant to start buying organic food because it just plain costs more than regular, we understand—but we also think it’s worth spending a little bit more to keep your body and the environment healthy and strong. So with that in mind, we found eight places you can save on eating—from cutting your food budget by 40 percent to banking an extra $1,200 a year by using your leftovers—giving you enough extra to buy organic without thinking twice.

1. Cut Back on Take Out

When you start cooking at home more, your first few grocery trips might be more expensive than you’re expecting—after all, stocking up on spices and ingredients can add up. But once you have a pantry stocked with supplies, you’ll be surprised at how easy and cheap it is to whip up meals for just a few dollars—and once you try making your fast-food favorites on your own, you’ll get hooked on the health benefits and savings. Then you can put most of your takeout budget back into your grocery shopping budget.

Potential savings: Around 40 percent, based on an AARP report that the average family spends 42 percent of its food budget on meals prepared outside the home.

2. Become a DIY Cook

Putting in a little extra preparation effort in the kitchen can help you save even more: try making your own spaghetti sauce for the cost of two cans of tomatoes (about $2) instead of buying a $4 jar. Get out your food processor to make your own hummus with canned garbanzo beans, spices, and lemon juice or olive oil. Buy your veggies whole and chop them at home; buy packets of yeast to mix with flour and water for pizza dough; mix olive oil and vinegars for quick and cheap salad dressings. For more ideas, check out Marye’s list of 45 foods you can DIY, from baking powder and vanilla extract to nutella and bacon—and then think about the processed food, preservatives, and other weird stuff you’re cutting out of your diet by knowing exactly what goes into each dish.

Potential savings: Endless. This is another place where you might have to spend more at first, but the overall price of your meals will go down (and the quality will go up).

(Click through to the end, or click the left arrow, for a printable list.)

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Samantha, selected from Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, PlanetGreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

164 comments

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3:48AM PST on Dec 2, 2014

Spend and use effectively

3:52AM PDT on May 31, 2011

Good article

3:58PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Thanks for the great tips! :)

2:38PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Thank You for the great article, full of tips Samantha.

4:14PM PST on Feb 11, 2011

wow some really nice stuff there :) thank you so much for posting :)

9:22AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

thanks

12:02PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

Having recently moved to a new country I joined care2.com for the wonderful ecards and some ideas on 'how to'. I now find myself having a look at the web page and then sit for hours making notes, saving recipes, learning how to save money and make things go much further and do more things than I ever imagined. I flit from link to link getting quite carried away with so many new ideas it's amazing. I have recently finished a course of chemo (for breast cancer) and have found that your information pages are very helpful and uplifting. Your organic recipes are so good as my new country, Bulgaria, is a major advocate of all things organic. I would like to thank you so much for making my life easier, healthier and much less boring than it was before. :-)

6:58AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

Thank you. Currently I still live with my parents and younger siblings as a grad student, and I don't have to buy my own groceries. I'll copy, paste and save this article for future reference, as my dad is already very good at grocery shopping for much less than our neighbors, though he only buys organic when it's on sale for a really good deal.

5:35AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

I recently had to cut down on my sodium intake and started checking nutrition info on food at restaurants I liked - and was shocked. Since then, I've been cooking at home more, and have found that I do spend a lot less on my overall food budget - plus the food tasted better, since I make it to my own liking.

6:14AM PST on Dec 5, 2010

Cooking from scratch is the best way to go, you know exactly what you are eating too.

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