I've always considered myself to be frugal. I still do, but my family might disagree. "You pay how much for eggs?!?!" However, I think being frugal means making thoughtful financial decisions and also not being afraid to spend when necessary. J and I think high quality food is necessary. I go out of my way to purchase grass-fed beef almost exclusively and pastured chicken as much as possible. I also splurge on free range eggs from the farmer's market and local, mostly-grass fed milk in glass bottles. These purchases are important for our health and for environmental reasons. Because these items are so expensive, we don't use a lot of them, i.e. we eat quite a few meatless meals each week.
We are at the point now where we need to trim our budget a bit. Actually, the problem is that we need to keep our budget where it is but get our expenditures in line with our budget. Common problem, right? We have identified several areas where we can cut back, most notably eating at restaurants. We both agreed, however, that while we need to be more cognizant of how we spend our food money, we don't want to sacrifice quality. As a compromise I plan to get back into couponing. As much as we try to avoid processed and packaged food, there are certain items that we can't seem to get away from like ketchup and taco shells. We might as well use coupons and shop the sales to reduce costs a bit. We also need to be less wasteful -- not buying too much and eating everything that we buy. I'm hoping these small changes as well as a heightened awareness of where our money goes will make enough of a dent in our expenses that we won't have to feel guilty about spending money on good food.
I've been wondering how some of our homemade items compare cost-wise to similar prepared items from the store. I think I may do some research while grocery shopping this weekend.