Much discussion has been had on Twitter, but I thought it would be good to add this to the list of other great questions found on this site. The question: What suggestions or steps do you take to make the Primal/Paleo food choices more affordable? Please be specific in your answers so that newbies can understand all steps needed to take.
Plan your meals, and always make extra, so that you have left overs to eat from all week!
You get to re-enjoy (is that a word?) your meals, and it saves the cost of having to buy food to make a new meal each day.
And it's also pretty convenient for the lazy. IE: me.
Eat less. Period. I said this in another thread. Most Americans eat too much. A serving of protein (meat) should be 4-5 oz. Americans are used to eating 8-12 ounces. Turn that 10 ounce steak into 2 meals.
I started doing the Lean Gains plan. I now skip breakfast, eat a big lunch and a smaller dinner. One meal per day is 4 pastured eggs and some veggies. Last "meal" is some organic cottage cheese. Throw in an additional fasting day where you only eat dinner and that'll save even more $ every week/month.
Whenever possible, buy your meat in bulk. I have no problem with freezing meat and have a 13cu ft freezer. I'm looking at farms where I'll be able to buy 1/4-1/2 cow and 1/2 pig....which will only be from a natural feeding farm.
Right now, because money is tight, I buy supermarket meat, whatever is on sale or marked down, I will look at....and often buy. If I see steaks that are marked down, I'll grab as many as I can afford. If you shop weekly. you can usually get a nice variety over a month of so. A NON-frost-free freezer keeps meat at or below 0 for a good long time.
I also always have ground beef around. I buy it when it's on sale mostly and make patties, or several meat loafs, or batches of "taco meat" and freeze it. There's always something you can do with ground beef. (I only buy the high fat ones....low fat is tasteless and useless!)
One example to get this going would be the use of buying almonds in their nut/solid state. I like to throw them in the food processor and turn them into almond flour. At my local grocer, almond flour is more than $10/lb. Almonds however are only $9 for a 32 oz. container. Do the math and I can now get my almond flour for only $4.50/lbs.
Ask the butcher if he puts meat on sale on its "sell by date." At our commissary, all meat that expires that day goes on sale around 3pm, so I go then and stock up and freeze it. If they don't have any out, I ask. The butchers all know me.
Also look for veggies that are cheap and go a long way. Heads of red cabbage. Onions and mushrooms.
I agree - cheap cuts of meat are the way to go! My favourites are heart, liver, kidneys, lamb breast, pork belly, oxtail, and tongue
Also pig skin - make pork scratchings (I get an A3 sheet of pig skin from my butcher for £1, which makes two sandwich boxes of scratchings and a tub full of lard)
And save bones to make stock or soup, save them up in the freezer if necessary.
I buy certain things at different markets. I only shop once a week. One week I go a particular store and stock up on the things that are the best price at that store. The following week, one of the other stores. In choosing the stores, I factor in driving distance.
Other than that, here is my regular plan:
Buy meat on sale, and as others have mentioned, things such as beef and chicken liver, are good values for the nutrients. The fat drippings from the fattiest ground meat make good cooking fat. I only cook with meat fat or butter/ghee. Most weeks, the drippings will last for cooking other things, until I buy meat again. (Though, beef drippings taste better than chocolate and it is tempting to eat them with a spoon.)
Buy the least expensive vegetables, and try to get locally grown, in season. One market often has "manager's specials" in a special section, which are much lower priced. And, I grow some of my own vegetables, and many herbs.
If something is on sale, I try to buy enough to last until it goes on sale again. Canned salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, seaweed, almond butter, tea, sea salt, and other staples which can be stored for long periods of time. (I prefer canned fish to canned beef when the weather is too bad to go shopping.)
Having a good water filter, such as a Berkey, is a great help. Drinking water is delightful, and it makes good tea. I use one that has the additional cartridges for removing fluoride and chlorine.
Other than the stocking up on the items for long-term staples, my regular shopping list each week is short and makes shopping quick:
Beef, one or two kinds
Chicken livers or beef liver
Heavy whipping cream
Low-starch vegetables, with an occasional parsnip or pumpkin
Sometimes trading with neighbors works out. I have traded homemade soap for eggs, cookies for large containers of bacon fat, etc.
If you have a large freezer and can get a side of beef, that can be the best value.
My plan may not be suitable for anyone else, but it works very well for me, at this time.
Hope this is of use.
i belong to a food co-op, where all the high-quality food i want is priced well below retail. in exchange for 3 hours of labor a month, i save a LOT.
secondly, i participate in meatshares/csa's when i can.