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My Experiment Living on $3.33 a Day on a Plant-Based Diet

Monday Mar 4, 2013 | BY |
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save-money-on-vegetables

One of the biggest complaints I hear about eating a healthy diet (high raw or something else) is the cost of food. Especially nowadays, now that food prices have risen tremendously over the past few years.

Do you remember when produce used to be cheap? I remember often buying two avocados for a dollar, and big ones! I didn’t even live in California or Mexico, and avocados were cheap. All the vegetables I buy now seem to have doubled in price over the last 10 years. Celery used to always be 99 cents a bunch. Now, the “base” price is usually $1.99, sometimes more.

Until I figured out some tips to make it work, I was spending between $600 and $800 a month just to feed myself on a high-raw diet! This is more than many people spend on rent or a mortgage. According to the IRS, the average person in America spends $301 on food, and the average family of four spends $765. According to the US department of Labor, a typical family of four eating “moderately” at home in 2011 spent $664. But that’s eating many processed foods.

In the vegan, natural health, and raw food world, these amounts would be much higher. How much does the average Whole Foods Market shopper spend a month on groceries and eating out? When a bag of organic groceries can easily cost $80 and a glass of freshly squeezed juice or a fresh smoothie can cost over $6, I know that people who care about their health spend a lot of money on food.

If you manage to cut down your monthly food expenses from, let’s say, $500 a month to $100 a month, what would you do with the difference? That’s a $5000 after tax savings over the year. Assuming a tax burden of 30%, you would have to earn a little over $7000 a year to cover this extra spending. The $5000 after tax money could be invested in many places.

People who claim that spending a lot of money on food is “an investment in their health” could choose to pay for private fitness lessons at the gym for the entire year, and probably have enough money left over for massages, chiropractor visits, and more! Maybe the $5000 could be invested in taking a vacation, or two or three… It could be used for paying off your mortgage faster, or pay for the education of your children.

My Experiment

What motivated me to find out ways to spend less on food was when I read a book called “Early Retirement Extreme” by a Danish author who now lives in the USA.

You’ve probably heard of the concept of voluntary simplicity. Well the author of ERE wrote a very interesting book and blog on how he managed to save about 80% of his salary over a period of five years and then “retire” at the age of 35. Part of his plan was to spend almost nothing on food and rent. His budget was actually only $80 a month for all groceries and food expenses.

When I read the book, I was still spending a fair amount on food. So I thought, if this guy can live and eat well on so little, then how could I figure out a way to do it as well? The exact number is not important. What matters is that the amount that you manage to save is significant, and that you do it without sacrificing your health and most importantly, your sanity!

So last summer, for a period of about 2-3 months, I went on a little experiment. My goal was to spend only $100 a month on food, and yet eat better and more nutritious foods than I was before. I learned a great deal during this experiment, and this is how I wrote my book “How to Eat Well for Under $100 a Month on a Plant-Based Diet.”

I calculated the exact cost of all fruits per calories. I also compared prices all over different cities, and compiled all the best ways to get the best deals on food. What started as a personal challenge turned into a sort of economic science experiment.

I didn’t think it was possible to eat well for just $100 a month until I tried it. And it worked!

Some Tips to Save Money

One of the big changes I implemented was to stop buying everything in bulk.

I know that sounds counterintuitive, but bulk deals are not always the best. I used to buy all of my fruit by the box, and I thought it was the best way to get the best price.

But what I discovered is that often, it’s much better to discover stores that will advertise “loss leaders,” which are specials that they run every week to attract customers. I then focused on those foods and create your recipes around what was on sale.

I spent a few months researching prices and I came up with a definitive price list that I keep with me when I go shopping. The price list tells you exactly what is the maximum amount you should spend for each type of fruit, vegetable, grain or other food. That way, you’ll know instantly if you’re getting a good deal or not.

My Rule of Thumb

In order to eat well for $100 a month, you have to find a cheap source of healthy calories. This is actually the easiest part of the program, because healthy and cheap calories can easily be obtained from root vegetables, beans, and so on.

The biggest budget killer in a healthy diet is fresh produce. The system for eating $100 a month on a plant-based diet allows you to eat a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables. However, those tend to be the most expensive parts in one’s diet, besides eating out.

So my rule of thumb is to never pay more than 99 cents a pound for fresh produce.

One way to get fruits and vegetables for 99 cents a pound or less is to shop at supermarkets, local produce stores and anywhere that advertises weekly specials. As you know, your local grocery stores all run weekly specials. They advertise those specials in the weekly papers, or send you the flyers in the mail. Nowadays, these flyers are also downloadable on the Internet. The discounts are the loss leaders I was talking about. It means that the store will sell certain items at cost or below cost simply to attract customers, hoping that the customers will purchase other items at the same time (at full price). The strategy works.

You can compile, every week, a short list of the specials at different stores around you. The easiest way to do this is to write it all down on an index card and carry this with you when you go shopping.

Where to find grains and beans in bulk?

Besides ethnic stores, you may be able to locate a distributor to sell you grains and beans in bulk. The process is fairly simple. Simply look at the label of the bags of beans sold at different markets around you. You may find that many of the stores source their beans and grains from the same distributor. Then it’s just a matter of locating that distributor, calling them, and asking them if they can sell to individuals directly. I’ve done this successfully in many cities.

My book “How to Eat Well for Under $100 a Month on a Plant-Based Diet” goes into the details of how to get the best deals using this system.

What About the Raw Food Diet?

When I wrote my book, I focused on a plant-based diet to achieve the $100 a month target. So a lot of people asked me if it was possible to do the same with a raw food diet. Unfortunately, living on just $3 a day on a 100% raw food diet is not realistic. However, $10 a day definitely is.

A 100% raw foodist could not live on the same budget as a cooked food vegan because fruits and vegetables are more expensive by calories. So the approach that must be taken for each diet is different, but can be combined together. So this is why I created a companion eBook that goes into more details on making this budget system work for raw food diets.

For example, the approach I lay out in my main book tells you how you can eat for just about $3 a day on a plant-based diet. This plant-based diet would include 2-3 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, and of course sources of calories such as potatoes, beans, and some grains.

Someone could well decide to exclude certain items from the menu such as grains and still manage to still within the budget guidelines, and someone else could decide to combine the best of both worlds, such as a high-raw diet with some cooked calories.

In this case the total budget would be in-between $3 and $10 a day. That’s still significantly less than what most health-conscious shoppers spend.

But you could decide to revert back to my main “plant food” budget of $100 a month by following my methods, if you have a particular goal in mind. For example, maybe you want to save up for a holiday. Then why not try the plant-based budget for 1-2 months, and then go back to the raw food budget? It’s totally possible to make it work no matter what your diet is.

Does It Need to be $100 a Month?

The truth is, the target that I chose for my experiment, $100 a month, was arbitrary because it was a fixed number. I wanted to see if I could do it. Nowadays, I spend more than this amount on food, but it’s still significantly less than what I used to spend.

The reason this system works it’s because it’s customizable. Once you know how to save money, you can decide what your personal target should be. Maybe eating organic food is really important to you, so in this case you’ll alter the strategy and the monthly budget for that.

Kev’s Notes: When Frederic told me about his book, I was intriqued. In fact, I didn’t believe it was possible. He proved me wrong. I’ve since taken some of the tips from his book and we’ve saved some money without having to compromise our eating at all. That’s a win if you ask me. And of course, no matter what diet you eat, you can use this book to save money — not just a plant based diet. If you want to check out the book, it’s worth every penny (since you’ll make up the cost in no time!) you can go here.

Your question of the day: What are your cost savings tips for eating healthy on the cheap?

60 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. TAMARQUE says:

    I am very skeptical of this $100/month for food. The quality of the food is just as important as the price. Nothing in this article addresses the level of toxicity of so many foods in mainstream markets. Apples are one of the most sprayed fruits and should always be eaten organically. Cheapest apples around now are $2.39/lb. Organic grapes never went below $5/lb this past summer. Non-organic clementines this winter go for $5/box and at least 20% of them turn moldy within a couple of days so up goes your cost.

    There are ways to contain your food budget but I doubt that you will eat that healthy on $100/month.

    • Jen says:

      I agree with your comment. There is no mention of organic, and at $.99 a pound for produce I’m willing to bet it’s not. I won’t compromise on this, I seek out local organic foods for my family.

  2. Tracie says:

    We eat a lot of rice, beans, and potatoes. Additionally, I buy whole chickens, which are WAY cheaper per pound, cook them, and then use them in up to 4-5 meals for my family of four. We are gluten free and we eat a lot of veggies depending what is on sale. We love ALDI because you can still get veggies really cheap, and they do sales on certain ones every week. We wash the produce really well to try and get rid of pesticide residue. I’ll admit-that’s the one thing that bugs me. We buy a lot of boca meat because if we are using ground meat in something, it’s cheaper to get a package of 4 boca burgers [about a pound for $2.79] than it is to buy a pound of beef [$3.99]. Also, if you do buy a pound of meat, it can go a long way when you serve it with rice, beans, potatoes, or veggies or GF pasta.

    We make pretty much everything from scratch…even sauces….to cut down on preservatives, plus it’s always better when it’s real and homemade and cheaper! When we want to bake stuff…we grind oatmeal up in a flour mill [ pulse in a food processor if you don't have a flour mill ] for GF cookies instead of buying the really expensive flour.

    Our grocery bill is anywhere from $60 to $90, and we shop about every 10 days or so. In between, we will pick up odds and ends and spend maybe $10 each time. So our total monthly bill for food ends up being around $250 ish to maybe $300. If we didn’t buy beer and wine it would be cheaper!!! :)

    • shrazzi says:

      Awesome advice! Eating healthfully does come at a huge price here in the States. Thankfully, with a bit of savvy, we can reduce it and make it a more accessible option.

    • Liz says:

      Please re-evaluate your use of boca burgers. Those are loaded with GMOs and are highly processed! I don’t have a recommendation for a substitute, but we go without a meaty texture here.

    • marie says:

      CAREFUL, careful, careful!!!!In reply to Tracie who wrote on March 4th, from what I read, oats ARE gluten -based,,as well as rye and barley. It’s often misconstrued.
      Hope I can be of help.
      Marie.

  3. Sara says:

    The 99cents store gets organic produce all the time. Since I live close by I am able to check often.

  4. Ian Dixon says:

    It is certainly possible in the UK to eat quite well on £60 a month which is about $100. It can be time-consuming though in terms of shopping around to get the best deals.
    I do get some things in more bulk simply on cost grounds. A lot depends on how long they last before they need to be used.

  5. Becky says:

    We have been vegetarians for about 6 mos. now. I found that is actually a cheaper way of eating. I cook beans, wild rice, quinoa, all organic. I make my own seitan if I need a meat texture in something likes tacos. Organic popcorn is about 20 cents a serving. (1/4 cup in brown paper bag, no oil) and into the microwave. I can food in the summer mostly what I grow. We also get fruits and vegs from Bountifulbaskets.org every 2 weeks. We juice daily. I still keep our food budget for 2 adults under $300. a mo.

  6. Larry Fishman says:

    1) shop at farmers markets near the end of the day to get “end of market specials”
    2) ask farmers if they have blemished or soft produce (I often get fruit for $.50-1.00/# or less that way, or turnips for $.050/#)
    2) bargain with farmers for lower prices
    3) avoid farmers markets that cater to yuppies (like Berkeley). In my experience, shopping at the Old Oakland Farmers Market on Fridays from 1-2 PM gets the lowest prices, and many farmers are organic or do not use pesticides.

  7. Mark says:

    Here is my answer to the question of how to spend only $100.00 per month on a raw plant-based diet.

    1. SPROUTING- Beans and grains and seeds can be purchased for as little as 20 cents a pound from bulk sources.

    2. DRIED FRUITS- Raisins, dates and other dried fruits are energy packed and are a great bargain.

    3. COSTCO- Nuts are generally expensive but can be purchased at a reasonable price from Costco.

    4. GROW YOUR OWN- Lettuce and herbs are very easy to grow all year indoors.

    5. EXERCISE LESS- Burn less energy exercising and eat less. Exercise is important up to a point of diminishing
    return.

    6. FAST- One of the best health enhancing practices.

    7. PROPER FOOD COMBINING- Efficient digestion and assimilation means less food is required.

    8. KEEP WARM- Warm the body in the sun. Wear clothing appropriate to indoor and outdoor temperature.

    • Judi says:

      Does Costco carry organically grown nuts?

      • Vickie says:

        Hey Judi!
        Not that I have seen so far.

      • marianne says:

        Costco is carrying more and more organic items (at least in San Diego, CA). Be sure to ask each time you go in. Like most businesses they operate on supply and demand. If they don’t think it will sell they don’t carry it. They carry organic meat, produce (only in the cooler area), quinoa, dry sprouted beans, etc. I have not noticed organic/raw nuts. I get those at Trader Joes.

    • Amir says:

      MARK, I’m with you on spouting and proper food combining and I buy most of my produce organic. I’m a RAW Living Foodist and have found that by sprouting, juicing and making smoothies my meals are simple and full of nutrients so I eat much less. My energy foods are dates, bananas, raisin and figs. I eat and juice lots of leafy greens. I don’t by processed foods. I do work out a bit and I walk or ride my bike most every where I go!

      Thanks Kevin & FREDERIC for sharing this with us!

  8. Henrik says:

    I lived only on wild growing foods for a month. It went just fine. Spent $0 that month and felt really good.
    But here in Sweden, that’s pretty much only possible in the fall if you want to stay vegan.

    Growing your own food can certainly bring the costs down. Sprouts and micro greens are easy to grow anywhere for very little money and can easily replace store bought greens (which are really expensive).
    A lot of people also have fruit trees in their gardens that they don’t bother with. Most of the time they will give you the fruit for free if you ask.

  9. Interestingly the word organic isn’t mentioned, i would rather pay more for my fresh produce but eat less of it and know as sure as i can trust my supplier that i’m not consuming a couple of kilos a year of all those nemerous nasties non organic food have! It’s shameful though that the most natural food available to us is the most expensive while man-made so called food stuffs that require labels to explain what they are and what’s in it (otherwise we wouldn’t be any the wiser) are cheap and always on ‘special’ offer (2 for 1 etc.), goes back to the question when did an apple become more expensive to produce than a hamburger scenario doesn’t it, sad :(

  10. LynnCS says:

    I certainly am able to cut down on expenses when I keep it simple. I combine a lot of raw with much of the Mcdougall plan. I just can’t handle all the fruit some eat and can’t seem to feel really well on all those starches of the Mc plan. It’s so cheap! I don’t see how it can be so expensive as some people claim. Maybe it’s all the fresh fruit, but without all the old meat and cheese, yogurts, etc, I find it pretty inexpensive. Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh fruits and eat some every day, but can’t thrive on it. Lots of raw vegis and salads.

    Grains, if you eat them and beans, peas, etc are really cheap. Most vegis like greens, carrots, potatoes etc are also really cheap…As was stated in the article…it depends on where you buy them. If you want to be cool and go to all the trendy places, it will cost more. If you have a lttle ‘garden,’ grow some window sill greens, and buy from a local farm…maybe pick your own…It will be cheaper. You can pick peaches, apples, cherries, blueberries and many more. There can be a small charge per lb but still cheap and fun. You might have to travel a way to get to where you can find them, but you get a road trip in the deal.

    There are sites on the internet, Green Smoothie Girl, comes to mind where they do a community buy. You can do it in your community. I buy things like almonds in bulk through the mail. I get true organic and can divide up the cost of shipping as well as the cost of the item. Keep your eyes open among your groups of people you know for those who, say, like almond milk, or organic blueberries. Ask them if they’d like to share in the cost. Starting small will get the word around. Other people are in the same boat.

    What about those of you who have a little yard but can’t garden. You provide the place and the water and reap the rewards. Or share the cost of water.

    We have lost the art of negotiation. Work it out with others and see your savings add up. You too can retire early. I think there is a book called Die Broke that talks about not living the high life in order to enjoy a better later life. It’s not focused on the food, but goes into how to save in all areas. Just a thought.

    • Katydid says:

      I also follow the McDougall plan. Last year I did a $3 a day challenge for a month and ate very well indeed on whole grains, potatoes, beans, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. It wasn’t organic, but much of it was from the local farmers market. I bought the grains and beans in bulk from the bins at the local WF. It’s actually pretty simple – if you don’t let philosophy ruin your budget. Grain and fruit for breakfast, rice and beans for lunch, split pea or lentil soup over potato for dinner. Even had enough money left over for a small dinner salad.

  11. Dorrie says:

    Okay, depending where one lives on the earth of this planet. Can one eat as little as $100.00 per week?

    Even organic beans here in the MIdwest is a heafy price tag! I guess buying from a food coop, would be
    possible, and yet one would not find what one wants to consume on a 7 days per week budget.

    Let’s take for example, I was in Seattle, WA. about 2 weeks ago, and I found the food prices, in a health store
    to be extremely expensive. Organic salad cost $10.00 a tub, while the same brand name I buy at a local store in the Midwest cost me $2.50 a tub. A 2 lbs. bag of Almonds, cost in Seattle $4.00 while the same bag at my local grocery store cost $7.99. Haricove Greenbeans cost $4.00, a 2 cup package, while in the Midwest it only cost $2.99.

    Seattle, WA. is closer to the Organic fields of California, while the Midwest gets the same brands, coming maybe
    by Air or Freight? Depending what one eats, one can save. Here at my home grocery shopping once, every 2 weeks,
    I buy mostly Organic greens of every type. My bill can run as high as $200.00, for just produce, or as less as
    $75.00, depending what I have on hand and what I run out of. Beans, rice, and fresh greens are our staples, with sometimes fresh organic green apples, pears, banana’s, and pineapples, kiwi’s, and grapes.

  12. Pamela says:

    I agree with quality — especially if there are allergies in the family or you are on a restrictive diet. So I am looking for non-GMO/organic/grass-fed/no hormones foods.
    You might spend less on food shopping at different stores but in California, where the gas prices are high, you will end up spending your food savings on ga$.
    The Organic Consumers Assn. recommended the GreenPolkaDot Box. They beat Whole Foods’ prices/quality and I found, over the past year that they (www.gpdb.com/ShopOrganic) save me money, time, and gas. If you find an item cheaper (same quality/same brand) they will refund the difference; $75 gets you free shipping by FedEx right to your door.
    Also, the organic co-op near-by has good prices, as well. I have found that eating organic, because you eat less when your body gets quality food, costs less in the long run and keeps you healthy–another savings from health care co$$$t$.

  13. Jo says:

    I wanted to do the raw food diet, due to my severe food allergies and environmental illness, as a result
    of having been poisoned with raw sewage seeping into our source of drinking water a few months,
    years ago.

    However, without much support around me, I found this difficult to do, especially with family members
    in the house not interested. So I have found there are really only 3 foods that I need to come close:
    They are Rice, Beans, and popcorn have become my cooked food staples, most everything else is raw.

    The raw fooders I do know in this area, are eating sprouted beans or grains, some of which did not agree with my sensitive gut. I don’t know what this costs me per month, but hey it has to be way cheaper, than those eating meat. At least this way, I am still getting a plant food diet.

    I don’t do well with other grains or eggs anyhow, so until I can get more educated on this raw food journey, or God sends a personal raw food chef my way, this is long ways from how I used to eat.
    Love to all trying.

    • Lesley says:

      Hi Jo,

      I would caution you against eating popcorn or any corn at all for the following reasons: 90% of corn is genetically modified, it is host to many mycotoxins which can further damage your sensitive gut and exacerbate environmental illness. Mycotoxins can be a factor in causing cancer and infection as well as disrupting gut flora.

      I also would urge everyone to emphasize the vegetables in their diet, whether vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist or consumers of animal products and avoid excess fruit consumption. Although fruit has many nutrients it is also high in fructose – excess fructose consumption is linked to cancer (cancer feeds on sugar), type 2 diabetes, and especially pancreatic cancer. The body and pancreas treats fructose differently than glucose, it also raises uric acid levels which is also a way to test via a blood test if you are consuming too much fruit. Fructose also causes inflammation, it’s best to limit fructose to 25 grams or less per day; 15 grams if trying to lose weight.

      • Ken says:

        Mercola’s fruit will kill you stance is pure nonsense. Please think for yourself with common sense. There is nothing more appealing both to the palette and to the eyes and other human senses than a wild or semi-wild growing fruit tree. Couple that with the fact that fruit trees, once established bear food year after year with little labor. The fact that they enrich and hold the soil against erosion is something that most other agricultural crops fall flat compared.

        COVER THE ENTIRE EARTH WITH FRUIT BASED PERMACULTURE FOOD FORESTS FOR THE WIN…

        (Yes I am shouting ;)

  14. Debbie says:

    Forage, eat local weeds. Check out Markus Rothkranz’s “Free Food and Medicine DVDs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE2Ek42-BH0

  15. Joseph Kétèll says:

    When choosing for cheap food, know that you choose for GMOs, hormones, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and more mischief.

  16. Betoman says:

    Beans and rice, just like our neighbors to the south!

  17. Denise says:

    I am tempted to buy your book but a bit puzzled by the $100 jump in your auto and transportation expense… Did you have to travel between stores or was this an unrelated expense which should have been omitted?

  18. Zyxomma says:

    Oh, please. $100 a month for a high raw, organic, vegan diet in NYC is just impossible. There are NO organic vegetables for $.99/pound here. Sure, if one has a ride to Fairway, one MIGHT find something, but I’m in the east village, not Harlem or the upper west side, and it’s $5 round trip on public transit (to say nothing of the hours it would take to get there and back).

    I’ve put up with comments from friends and family on how much money (and time) I spend on food, for years (my opinion is they’re well-meaning, but misguided). I can sprout, but have nowhere to grow food. Since I’m perfectly, vibrantly healthy while pushing 60, it’s all worth it. My usual rejoinder to people who claim I spend “too much” on food? Apart from dental cleanings a few times a year, I spend ZERO dollars on medicine. Of course, that isn’t really true, since I take high quality food-based supplements. They’re part of my food budget.

    Just this weekend, I bought a huge head of Romanescu cauliflower (the pretty one that looks like pale green fractals). I cut it into florets, salt-massaged them, and made a cheeze sauce in the Vitamix (soaked pine nuts, young coconut meat, shallot, nutritional yeast, New Mexico chile, and smoked sea salt). The cauliflower was $4, and worth every penny. I suppose the sauce ingredients came to about $5. The experience, however, was gourmet delight.

    I respect every gardener who can grow her/his own; I can’t. I can and do sprout. I go to the greenmarket or grocer with an attitude of gratitude, and when I sit down to eat, I express that gratitude for every hand that brought the food to my plate. When it isn’t much, I tell the farmers at the greenmarket to keep the change. Were it not for them, I would have to give up my “good life” in NYC, and I let them know how much I appreciate them.

    The American attitude that food should be cheap is ridiculous. It has led to subsidies for the worst crops (all GMO apart from wheat, which has its own problems), and led to rampant diabetes and obesity. I understand that not everyone can afford to eat well, and I sympathize with everyone who has to make do with SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), and hope they live through the ridiculous sequester budget cuts. Health and peace.

  19. Sufiyo says:

    Kevin, I love your stuff, and this concept. But try doing that in Australia, if you are not in a position to grow your own food (I have done at one property and rarely bought any fruit or veg!) Your US prices are unbelievably cheap!!! You mention an organic celery sometimes reaching a high $2.99?!! Standard here is $6.99!! Our fruit n veg (even non-organic) is known to be three times as costly. So count your lucky stars with what ya got Americans! ;) Makes me wanna come over there just for the crazy array of fresh n cheap F&V!!! ;)

  20. Erik says:

    I go to the farmer’s market near the end of the day so I can bargain with the farmers who don’t want to load stuff back on their trucks. What may have sold for $1.50 a lb at 9 AM will be $1.00 /lb or less.

  21. CrunchyCon says:

    How does this add up for organic produce?

  22. steph says:

    My local fruit stand has a $1.00 table of fruits and vegies with some minor marks and bruises. I also go to farmers market late when many vendors will reduce their prices at end of their day. I have lots of other great tips such as cooking with pulp from green drinks or easily sprouting your own sprouts for pennies..TY
    https://www.facebook.com/#!/OneMinuteHealings

  23. Joe says:

    Alot of posters here are suggesting local farms for their produce, but where I live, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Farmers Market and Local farms all seem to charge the same.

  24. Fiona says:

    Apparently there are over a hundred different plants growing wild in the hedgerows in the UK that are edible.
    Google! We have been drawn away from the land and are now much more helpless and lazy but God has already provided! Sprouts super cheap, buckwheat lettuce and wheatgrass can be grown on the windowsill for pennies.

  25. Josephine says:

    I used to eat on less than $100 a month, but I had a garden with kale, tomatoes, peppers, green beans to eat right in the garden, and muskmelons. I grew clary sage for tea leaves,two artichoke plants, a few big sunflower plants, and I had a few plants like mint, rosemary, thyme. It cost me about $300 to fix up the garden area–organically-fertilized, some raised beds, and fenced. I only bought a few seasoning herbs, some carrots and turnips and garlic and green onions, and some organically-grown California rice–in bulk for the rice.

    I loved it. I have found that some meat helps, and I can peel off the fat and then rub-down a lamb chop, with a cut garlic clove, and eat it raw–hasn’t made me ill, but I often don’t find lamb chops at a store. I don’t have a nice garden now, but am working on that again. Even a 10′ x 10′ area can provide LOTS.

  26. Jan says:

    FYI if you cook ANYTHING IN THE MICROWAVE it kills all food value whatever your cooking . I steam everything now. I even reheat leftovers in my steamer. Meat is wonderfully moist when reheated this way!!! I noticed on some of the comments that people use a microwave. I did until I went to a health seminar—it will even destroy the value water has if heated in the microwave!!! FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW THESE FACTS!!!

    I have started trying to raise a garden so I know what has been put on my plants/food. About to start raising chickens and ducks for meat and eggs. Free range eggs have so much taste compared to what you buy in the store. Our lawns and flowerbeds are going to need to be used for food instead of pretty only!

    Texas is water restricted, but they are still allowing homes to be built along with letting cities water highway/street meduims and large apartment complexes still have lush green lawns in August!! Guess just depends on who you are that you have to follow the rules. I have planted strawberries, blackberries, fig trees and kale plants if kept and covered will keep you in greens all year long.

    It’s coming a time with all THE GMO food products coming on the market that will be another reason not to eat from the grocery store. We don’t eat corn, corn syrup, etc. because that is all gmo. THIS IS A REALLY BIG ISSUE THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE EDUCATED ON!!! ALL SOY AND CORN GROWN IN THE USA IS GMO UNLESS SO STATED ON PACKAGING.

  27. Elissa says:

    I buy beans in bulk, sprout, cook, then freeze in individual portions so they are ready when I am ready for them. I have a family of 6 to cook for so this is a real time saver. Using a pressure cooker os also a big time/cost saver. I also do casseroles and grain loaves in advance and freeze them in the right sizes for my family so all I have to do is take them out the night before and thaw them then heat. This saves a lot of money since I am not buying prepackaged frozen meals. I did this for baby food as well.

  28. Maria says:

    I am writing to clarify whether you are shopping/eating organic… The research regarding health effects of GMOs is pretty bad and I will not consider non-organic food. (See “Genetic Roulette” if you haven’t). Eating oganic limits the loss leader shopping method considerably. Please clarify the approach you used. Thanks,
    Maria

  29. Nicole - Australia says:

    I was excited to read this & then found out your not talking organics!!!
    I am going broke spending around $250 a week just on organic fresh produce – Cellery being a redicoulos $8 a bunch & this is from a market. I am also buying other grocery’s on top of that (2 adults 2 kids). Unless I have too, I am not going to buy conventional produce & spend my savings from that on medical bills????

  30. Catherine says:

    Thanks for the tips Kevin. But… most people have to drive to get to different supermarkets, so cashing in on “fallen leaders” isn’t worth it when our dictators decide to sell us the gasoline they stole from Iraq at $4/gallon. I buy almost exclusively organic F&V but I would hope that everyone boycotts the organic produce that is blatantly overpriced. Send them a message that we want fairly-priced healthy food. Other than truly raw almonds and walnuts I don’t consider most nuts to be healthy food choices, and dates are just sick with sugar.

  31. maria rodriguez says:

    Firstly I woul like to extend my gratitude for all the knowledge that you so nicely share. I am indeed very grateful for that as I am too very interested in being healthy and everything that comes with it. I suppose that is the reason we connected in the first place. For I have found that we somehow connect to that which we are tunned to. Anyway, the thing is, I would very much apreciate it if you could please respond my email which basically is ment to inquire a couple of things about u. Please do not freak out about my most trivial questions which are ¿where are u from (where were u born)? and when? (your birthdate) This is you Kevin and Anne Marie. This does not compromise u at all i hope, or does it? In case u wonder why I would be interested in that, the reason being because I too myself like to make theories and for that I use data which in this case has to do with the information I have requested from u. I am no pshyco or anything of the sort. My name is maria and I live in Xalapa. A small city in the south-center of mexico. I am the mother of four children, ages 9,7,4 and 2. I have been married for 10 years, my husbands name is miguel. My hole life has been quite a journey, i’ve always been obsessed with learning as that leads to growth and enhancement, i think. But I have to say that this past decade which involves me becoming a mother has taught me more than a hole lifetime, it seems to me. The changes that occur when u are pregnant and when u give birth and then what follows are absolutely astonishing. it is mindblowing. At least in my experience. I have learnt more about so many things than I had in the previous 20 years. I don’t want to bore u with my story. I just wanted to share some of me so that u trust i am not a freak ( which i sometimes think i am but in the good way). bye.

  32. Kellie says:

    I approached a organic farmer at the local Farmer’s Market and talked him to letting me come to his farm and pick my own produce. A friend joined me and the drive took about 90 minutes. We arrived late afternoon after all the picking had been finished. We walked away with two large produce boxes of freshly picked produce: kale, lettuces, sugar snap peas, beets, blood oranges, blueberries etc for $20 a box. Well worth the drive.

  33. suzanne says:

    We are traveling in our RV. Passing through Ramona heading to coast of CA, saw a bag of 25 avocados for $5 at a fruit stand! Up in WA they are about $1 each. I just don’t know what I would do with that many before they went bad.

    • marianne says:

      I know you said you are in an RV so you have very limited/if any freezer space. For future reference, avocados freeze very nicely: cut in half, remove seed, remove skin leaving fruit/meat whole, wrap, freeze.

  34. Kathleen Heatley says:

    What about organic produce? and organic non gmo foods in general? can this be accomplished if organic is a priority?

  35. Lene says:

    so I decided there is a money back guarantee so why not try it…right? I haven’t read any of it yet but I few things I really didn’t like. I don’t mind if you want to help your friend out, especially if they have a tip to really help people and keeps the food in balance and nutritious. We all want that. What I didn’t like were all the GIMMICKS upon purchasing it and checking out. THREE different windows of buy this, buy this and don’t forget since you said no to the last two check out this offer as well. GIMMICK, GIMMICK, GIMMICK and I am NOT A FAN!!! Beware of that. I feel it cheapened the product and really took away any desire I had to read it. This was a big step for me in the first place since I am not a fan of ebooks, which this is. Hopefully my feelings will change once I start reading it, if not, I will definitely be asking for a refund, based on the principle that I feel cheated!!!

  36. Rachel says:

    Thanks for some helpful tips! I just wanted to add a few things I’ve found helpful. Many things can be frozen or cultured (a great natural source of beneficial bacteria). In the summer I get some wonderful cheap organic fruit from the farmers market & I freeze it – great to use in smoothies. Usually if you ask, many farmers will have a box of over ripe or less then perfect fruits at a greatly reduced price – much of it is still perfectly good.

    I also now get some weekly free leafy greens because I’ve found most people have their beet greens removed – the sellers usually throw them into a crate – Usually when I ask I get a huge bag stuffed w/ beautiful beet greens for free! If I find a good deal I also pickle my own veggies – great source of probiotic & they will last a very long time once they’re fermented.

    Buying what’s in season & local can help – I live in CA so I realize I’m pretty spoiled thought!

    I’m very fortunate to belong to an excellent co-op w/ a great bulk section – check around to see if your community has one or even if it’s viable to start one. I’m often surprised when I meet a health conscious person in my area that had no idea that we had a local co-op!

  37. jjm says:

    I am also skeptical about any website that seems to always have a link at the end of the articles that leads a person to purchasing the “solutions” to their problems. How about helping out people by giving them the info on here instead of selling ebooks and programs? If you are saving so much money you shouldn’t need to mepty people’s pockets.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      Wow, JJM, interesting perspective here. I look at this as an investment. If you spend $17 on the book and learn a technique that saves you $10 every week for 12 months, you’ve effectively kept $503.00 in your pocket. Go ahead and be skeptical, but wouldn’t it be nice to think that most people are doing good work, delivering great value and deserve to be paid a bit for what they create? :-)

      You don’t walk into Barnes and Noble and complain that all the books should be free — this is no different.

      Kev

  38. bo says:

    does somebody know if the book is only optional in America or can you also use it in European countries?

    • Lene says:

      you can use it in europe but some prices could be higher so you might be at $150 rather than $100 (europe was supposed to be the closest comparison to the US). I found the overall concept to be good. It didn’t help me much since coming from a large family I have already found the “secrets”( who knew). Overall, I think if you are interested buy the plant book. For $20 it isn’t a huge loss but had I found it in a bookstore I would have browsed though it and probably passed unless it was on clearance for $7. The next “trick” is the $17 is only for the plant based. If you want the raw food version its another $10. From what I read it seemed as though they kind of were together. They are not. Overall though, his prices and shopping is completely realistic. Skeptics it is legit. Like I said, I figured out this plan awhile ago and my family already lives this way. Bummer! I was really hoping to save more money. Another side note, he does not base this on organic food so expect to pay more for that as well. He does mention and include this. I really do think this book will help many people simplify their diets and save some money.

    • Lene says:

      Yes you can. Some of the figures might be higher but overall it will work and he mentions Europe will be the closest to US prices.

  39. Stacy says:

    I purchased this program about a month ago and am seriously considering asking for my money back. If you eat cooked food you live mostly on rice and beans. If you eat raw and eat more than about 1500 calories a day he admits it will likely cost more than the $100/month that is mentioned in the promotional article. It’s basically buy in bulk, go to warehouse suppliers for produce (great if you live in a city, that would be 90 miles away for me), buy seasonally. He even has pages of negative commentary about growing your own food. That took me from disappointed in this product to disgusted. Some of us have some land and enjoy putting time and energy into growing our food. I highly recommend you DO NOT buy this program. Sorry to be so negative but I feel pretty strongly about this one.

  40. Frances says:

    Hi Kev & Fred

    Thank you so much for sharing this helpful information. My top tip for food cost saving is to get to know when foods are being reduced in supermarkets & stores, as you never know what you might find that’s good for the day & tomorrow e.g. discounted organic bread & raw cheese (from deli counters). It’s also worth getting to know staff, who often go out of their way to help e.g. telling you what discounted goods are available.
    Thanks again: ).

    <3Frances

  41. Vidya says:

    One thing I would like to sale about shopping the sales:

    Many times, the “losers” that stores use to attract customers to their store are canned, packaged or proccessed. Maybe a half a page or so is devoted to fresh produced, then it gets swallowed by dairy, meats, fish, etc. In regards to the produce, most of it is not organic. Produce that should be purchased organic are almost always not on sale, just the ones that are known to be laidened with pesticides.

    My point? I do not shop store sales anymore. I look at what I have at home, make menus around those, then shop for what I need either at the farmers market (produce that is in season and I know that is organic). Produce that I know that I can buy conventially, I go to a local store and purchase IF and ONLY if it is on my menu…

    Savings for a thought….

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