- Find a local butcher store: I buy hormone free meat from a high-quality local butcher store in Indiana when my husband and I visit his family. If you're in the Chicago-area, it's a short day-trip away (2 hr drive). Yoder's Meat Shoppe is in the Amish country of Indiana. Most of the meat is sold in frozen packages. I use a thermal bag to transport it home and I put it directly in my home freezer. We are already visiting the area so we're not going out of the way and the value is tremendous factoring in the price for the quality compared to city prices. The locally raised meat is processed on-site and the taste is unmatched!
- Buy produce from a local farm or co-op: I have a service that use that delivers organic produce to my front door every other week for 1/2 the cost of buying from the grocery store. I use Timber Creek Farms, based outside of Chicago. With some of these services, you have to plan ahead and place your order one week prior to delivery. My order of a fruit box, veggie box, milk, bread, eggs, and cheese lasts for 2 weeks and I will only have to go to the grocery store for a couple of things that I need. With many of these services, you might have to be more adventurous and eat fruit or veggies that you don't typically.
Buying direct, locally and in-season can save you money and help you support family-run farms.
How do I establish a budget? When I worked as a financial planner, I advised my clients to come up with a spending plan based on their goals, priorities, and to realistically balance against short and long-term savings needs. From there, you can carve out a budget for your weekly grocery shopping.